When all is said and done, Garza will be a Cub

When all is said and done, Garza will be a Cub

Yesterday Brett Taylor of Bleacher Nation wrote he had a source that the Cubs were getting calls on Matt Garza -- and that they were listening.

I don't doubt this at all.  Brett does good work and I'm quite sure his source is 100% accurate.

That being said, I don't believe for a second that the Cubs are going to trade Garza.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post has said he has a source that said, "it's very, very unlikely" that the Cubs trade their top pitcher.  I don't believe this contradicts Brett's source at all.  Here's why...

Garza has long been a coveted target  of Epstein, he will turn 28 in a few days, and he has two years left of team control.  Most importantly, he is one of the rarest of commodities.  He is a front line starter under the age of 30.  His won-loss record may not reflect that, but fielding independent statistics show Garza as a top 10 pitcher, top 5 in some cases in the NL.   For example Garza ranked 5th in the NL and 7th overall in DIPS (ESPN's version of FIP) last season.  In the NL that ranks only behind pitchers Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee, and Madison Baumgarner, and ahead of pitchers like Matt Cain, Zach Greinke, Cole Hamels, Chris Carpenter, and Tim Lincecum.

It's doubtful the Cubs can get equal value for such a commodity and Theo Epstein is not in the business of moving backward when it comes to assets.  In fact, it's quite the opposite, he wants to gain value.

In other words, if you want Matt Garza, Epstein is going to make you overpay to get him.   That's the price of being a win-now team.  If you're the Rangers then guys like Martin Perez (LHP) and Jurickson Profar (SS) can't be deemed untouchable.  If you're the Yankees, you can't say a package that includes both Delin Betances (RHP) and Manny Banuelos (LHP) is out of the question.  If you're the Red Sox, then I think you just don't have the pieces to get this done -- or at least, you certainly can't compete with the kind of package the other two teams can put together.

I'm not saying this is necessarily fair.  I'm saying that the Cubs don't have to be fair.  They are not a small market team.  They can afford to pay Garza now and they'll be able to afford to pay him when he'll be a 30 year old free agent if they choose.  They can also afford to lock him up to a long term deal and buy out a year of free agency.  They are under no pressure or deadline to deal him.  In fact, they don't have to deal him at all.  And that puts them in the catbird seat.

Garza is a known commodity and an impact, front line starter.  There's no guarantee that prospects like Perez, Betances, and Banuelos will be the same.  All struggled mightily in AAA this past season.  Taking them off the table is a non-starter.  The Cubs also want to improve the team's athleticism and plate discipline.  Profar would sure look good in that respect, and at a premium position to boot.

If I'm Epstein, I'm asking for the moon.  By the same token, I don't expect any team to pay the price required to pry him loose.

If no team is willing to pay up, that's fine as well.  The Cubs will still have a 28 year old front line starter and the resources to keep him when he's a free agent.  The Cubs can realistically expect to contend by 2013-2014, and having a 29-30 year old ace certainly isn't going to hurt those chances at all.


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  • Spot on Arguello.

    Now to read a John Heyman Tweet or Joel Sherman article that pretty much confirms the whole thing.

    I've heard lots of talk that the Yanks are pretty much focusing on John Danks. Apparently the feeling is they can get Danks while keeping Betances and Banuelos ( who supposedly was a left handed Nuke Laloosh last year.). Instead centering a deal around Hector Noesi and Austin Romine. Betances I recall threw 20 good pitches in the last game of the season against the Rays before being lifted in the 2nd for Joe girardi's bum of the month club parade. Man tey did everything they could to help the Rays win that game. I'm surprised they didn't come out to celebrate with the Rays when Longoria hit that homer in the 9th....

  • In reply to felzz:

    Thanks Felzz. The Yanks aren't willing to pay the price for a frontline starter. I think that price for Danks is much too low, in fact. Romine projects as an average catcher and Noesi is a bottom of the rotation type arm. If I'm the White Sox, I'm looking for more than that but they don't have the same kind of payroll flexibility right now that the Cubs do.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    How about a package built around Trey McNutt for him?

  • I agree with you. If the Cubs don't trade him by end of the Winter
    meetings then start working on an extention. Also start working
    on Castro's extention ASP.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I'd definitely work on that Castro extension. I think it has to happen. Reader Eddie made a good point that he's now much more likely to be a super 2 candidate, so he's going to start to get more and more expensive as he'll be arb eligible a year sooner.

  • All more than fair, John - and I agree with almost all of it. The Cubs' position of strength (with respect to Garza, and their ability to afford him, that is) allows them to ask the moon for Garza (which is, I'm told, how those conversations are starting). The odds he's actually dealt, for that reason, are pretty low. I wouldn't go quite as far as you - I could believe he'll be dealt for at least a few seconds.

  • In reply to Brett:

    Haha! All right, maybe I could believe it for a second, maybe two ;) I just don't believe the Cubs are going to back off that much from their starting price, nor should they. That makes a deal unlikely to me since teams are going to try and get him on the cheap. I suppose I can see a team caving later if they get desperate (i.e. an injury to one of their top starters)

  • Well According to Ken the Rangers have a strong interest in Garza. John do you know anything about the Rangers farm system?

    Ken_Rosenthal Ken Rosenthal
    #Rangers can't be ruled out on starters. Have shown strong interest in Garza in past. #Cubs' new regime willing to move him. #Cubs #MLB

  • In reply to Paris:

    The Rangers just signed Nathan and are moving Feliz to the starting rotation. They have one less hole to fill. Daniels doesn't give up good young players all that easily. I think the Cubs have to get at least an elite prospect in return plus another couple of starting caliber players.

  • there were talks during the season that a garza extension would look something like 5yr/60-70 mil. if this is true this is something we need to take advantage of. locking this guy up until he's 34 at 14 mil a year is a steal, plus if for some reason things go south that is not an immovable contract whatsoever. these are the types of signings we need to make. as for castro, i really wanna see an evan longoria type of contract, longoria got injury insurance, the rays got a steal and castro basically means to cubs what longoria means to the rays, lets get these deals done!

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    I couldn't agree more. I understand wanting to listen right now while he's still ultra cheap, but once you find out that teams aren't going to give you fair value (or more than fair value), then just lock him up and you can still trade him later.

    Here's the thing too. No way Daniels makes a fair offer, in my opinion. He has called Epstein "the most overrated GM in baseball". I can't see any way he gives him top players. He's not making a trade unless he wins that deal.

  • fb_avatar

    Garza isn't untouchable. No one is, and nor should anyone be, but Theoyer aren't trading Garza unless they get an offer just to good to turn down.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Now having said that, the question begs, 'What organization has the talent it would take and the will to ante up?'

    I don't see it, but you have to be open to the possibility if it presents itself.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Oh, I'm not saying he's untouchable at all. Just that the Cubs have every right to ask for more than fair value. We're talking about a 5 WAR starter, so at the very least you need 2 above average starters. On example someone gave was Holland and Moreland, but even those two only add up to 4 WAR. It has to be much more than that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    i agree
    if a team that is short on pitching is giving up their ace then they need to get back at LEAST 1 guy pegged as future all star and another 2 guys with high ceilings (well not in all cases, but in this one it makes sense)

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Exactly. Cubs shouldn't hesitate to charge a premium here.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Or just don't trade him at all if they aren't getting blow-me-away type offers. I don't see why the Cubs would be motivated to move Garza anyway. He's young and still under team control.

  • On an other topic. Which direction should the Cubs go
    1 of 2 Cuban players
    Japanese pitcher
    A high price FA
    Mid price FA
    Just find a player here and there to fill certain holes

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I'm of the thought that the Cubs should get as many good players as they can. They have lots of payroll, so they don't have to strictly go to the bargain bin. What they should get is younger players or stopgaps, no long term contracts, obviously, to players beyond their peak years. Inernational guys like Darvish, Cespedes, Soler, Chen, etc. should all be in play, as should some mid price and even high price FAs if they fit into long term plans. We're a big market. Everything is in play.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    When do you think some of the dominoes will start to fall, the Winter Meetings?

  • Garciaparra was untouchable in '04, so nothing is impossible. That being said, you can afford to trade key pieces when you either get blown away by the return of prospects or for major league ready players that can put you over the top. I am with John that the Cubs will hang on to Garza and I completely agree to work on an extension with him and Castro.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Hang on unless some team wants to pay a premium. I also hope that if a team thi.ks price is too high, the next question is, " How about Marmol?"

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    on the subject of dealing marmol, what can we realistically expect as a return for him this winter? and then if we dont trade him and he returns to 2010 form what can we expect to get for him during the summer or at the deadline?

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    I think we can get a couple of good, but not elite Mlb ready prospects

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good point. If they are talking with teams trying to win now, Marmol is a logical name to include in the conversation.

  • It's become a cliche, but it's true, Epstein wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't listen to the offers, & see what he is worth. Another team would have to give up an awful lot to pry away Garza, probably more than the Cubs gave up to get him. I don't see that happening. Working in management, you always have to be trying to explore ways to make the team better. If they feel they are getting more back than giving, they will trade him, but I don't think that offer is out there.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Well said, ChiRy. They'll listen but unless a proposed deal significantly improves team, no reason to make trade.

  • Unrealated topic:

    This is even worse than I thought. Love the headline "New Draft Rules Don't Hurt Thrifty White Sox",0,1194910.story

    Jerry dick!

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Ha I feel the exact same way, ChiRy. He's a plague on major league baseball, and he has the commissioner in his pocket.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    baseball just kicked the cubs when they were just about to get back up and gave the white sox a kiss on the cheek.
    today is not a fun day to be a cubs fan

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    That CBA is terrible! So much worse than I thought it'd be.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Yes, this really bites. I guess we just have to hope and have faith that the Theocrats will discover the next market inequality and the best way to exploit it. At least the chances of the new FO doing so are much greater than the old one.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    From what Gonzales wrote these new Seligdorf rules don't seem to apply to Intl Drafting ... but I'm tellin ya, this is gonna take kids like Maples & Dunston out of the equation ... damn

  • BTW these new draft rules that punish teams for exceeding MLB's "recommended bonuses" are bullshit. This is just one more gift from Err Bud to his puppetmaster, Jerry Reinsdorf.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    The sooner Selig is gone, the better.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Exactly! Complete bullshit! How does this make the game better?

    I'll be interested to see how Theo, McLeod, & Wilken plan on attacking the draft now. Could they go more quality over quantity? Play by the book & allocate more of the amatuer budget to international signings?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    The new CBA restricts spending on international free agents as well. Here's a cut and paste from a fangraphs article on the new contract:
    "International Free Agents

    $2.9 million cap on total spending for all 30 teams for 2012.

    Beginning in 2013, pool of money available to sign talent will be determined based on Major League team’s winning percentage. Passan notes that spread will be something like $5 million for worst team, $1.8 million for best team.

    Also beginning in 2013, teams will be able to “trade” money from their allocations, with no team allowed to acquire more than 50% of their original total. So, while it will be possible to slightly expand your international signing budget, it will require surrendering talent in order to get money from another team’s allocation."

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Thanks for updating on CBA guys. I'm away from laptop right now. Will have piece later. And yeah. It sucks.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Once you have all the details can you please let us know
    how this will affect the Cubs signing of their first 5 picks
    in the draft. How will it change there game plan in drafting.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I saw the breaking news on the MLB channel and I'm actually surprised. I did not think MLB can make things worse for the small market teams, but they did. The one thing teams like the Pirates and Royals could do to get talent is to offer big contracts to high picks, now that is gone.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Yeah I heard the rumors about international spending a couple days ago. WTF Reinsdorf? Just 1-2 years for Theo & co. to work their magic was all I was asking.

  • these rules suck, but this is all the more reason to go after jorge soler and guys of his caliber right now, because we wont have the free reign to do it a year from now.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Agree ... Soler becomes a much more valuable player than the older Cespedes!!!

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    For the money that Cespedes wants, Soler is a much better option with a higher ceiling.

  • Yes small market teams now can't go after top talents after the
    1st round. All the Cubs needed was this coming draft to have one
    of the the better farm systems. Bud did it again (For the better of

  • As far as the new CBA rules go, if they really wanted to make everything fair, give teams a ceiling to spend, including draft money. However teams allocate this money is up to them. If they go over the salary cap, then take away draft picks instead of just the luxury tax. As John has pointed out, it is ridiculous that a small market team will now get penalized for overspending in the draft while the larger markets are free to spend 200 million with virtually no penalty. Bud the dud needs to go.

  • Bleed Cubbie Blue
    Looking at the Cubs briefly, under this system, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Szczur would be in the NFL right now. Logan Watkins would be playing college football. Ben Wells, Dillon Maples and Shawon Dunston Jr. would be in college. Matt Garza would be playing baseball, but not for the Cubs because we would not have had Hak-Ju Lee to trade for him.

    I was planning on doing a story about how the new Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer management team is going to change the way the Cubs are going to do business in the signing and development of baseball talent. I'm still planning on doing that and look for something after Thanksgiving. But I can tell you right now that the new CBA is going to completely change the way that they are going to have to go about their job. Not for the better, either.

  • Thanks to the great readers here for holding the fort. I've put up a post that is admittedly done in whirlwind fashion with lots of info and opinion gleaned from various sources.

    My gut feeling right now is it's still bad for the Cubs and other teams that rely heavily on scouting and development, but not quite as horrific as my first impression.

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