Per Bruce Levine, the Cubs and Rangers have started talks on the possibility of trading Matt Garza for top prospects -- but they aren't close on anything yet.
The Rangers are expected to lose CJ Wilson to their division rivals Los Angeles Angels. There are other top pitchers on the market such as Gio Gonzalez, Jair Jurrjens, and Jon Danks, but Garza put up better numbers than all of them last season. He also has the appeal of having pitched successfully in baseball's toughest division, the AL East.
The Cubs have told at least one team that they would have to be overwhelmed to make a deal. Some, including myself, have speculated that they are looking for a Zack Greinke-like deal. That deal included the Brewers top prospect, P Jake Odorizzi, their SS at the time and former #1 prospect Alcides Escobar, P Jeremy Jeffress (#3 prospect) and Lorenzo Cain (#8 prospect).
Granted, the Milwaukee system at that point wasn't as strong as Texas' system is today. But 3 of the players were among the top 100 prospects in baseball, and one of them, Escobar, was ranked #12 overall by Baseball America.
The Rangers wil likely have two prospects that will be ranked that highly in 20 year old LHP Martin Perez and 19 year old SS Jurickson Profar. We can be pretty certain the Cubs will ask for one of those two prospects, though it will be nearly impossible to pry Profar loose, who may have elevated himself into one of the top 5 prospects in baseball.
Other prospects who are certain to intrigue the Cubs:
- Mike Olt (3B): A good athlete who projects to have good power, good defense, and good plate discipline. Like Cubs prospect Brett Jackson, he strikes out more than you'd like and he's not expected to be a great hitter for average.
- Leonys Martin, 24, (OF): He has the defensive skills, speed, and athleticism the Cubs like. His bat is still a question.
- Robbie Ross, 22, LHP: Ross isn't as physically gifted as Martin Perez and doesn't throw as hard, but he has great command of a low 90s fastball with great movement. He also has a slider but his change up needs some more work. He has the ceiling of a #3 starter.
- Neil Ramirez, 22, RHP: Ramirez had some injury issues but reached AAA. He can hit 95 mph on the gun and has a good curveball when he's right, but concerns about injuries and command make him an unlikely target for Epstein and Hoyer.
There's also the possibilty of including a young major league player such as LHPs Derek Holland (25) and Matt Harrison (26), though it's doubtful Texas would want to lose another lefty after losing CJ Wilson. RHP Alexi Ogando (28) and 1B Mitch Moreland(26)are two more possibilities from the major league team.
If you go by Jon Sickels' ratings, only Profar is a grade A prospect, so if the Cubs don't get him or one of the top major league lefties, they should get a package of 3-4 players with which they could kick start the process of rebuilding the farm, and eventually, the major league team.