Garza and Barney hot, reluctant commodities

Garza and Barney hot, reluctant commodities

As the trade deadline approaches the Cubs are getting closer to the next phase in the rebuild.

This phase could be the most important that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have faced thus far. The additions of Anthony Rizzo, Travis Wood by trade, Jorge Soler by free agency and what appears to be a very solid draft (pending the signing of Albert Almora) have bolstered the talent base already by leaps and bounds.

What I’ve heard is what John laid out for us yesterday; Matt Garza is a hot commodity. It surprises me some after he has had some rough outings. However, Garza is attractive because of that player control and comp picks you won’t get with Zach Greinke or Cole Hammels.

There are some out there who believe that Garza is distracted quite a bit by his name being on the block again and not getting a deal done in Chicago. I was told Garza had hoped to reach a deal to stay put and he's made it clear he likes Chicago.  Everyone knows he has a volatile personality to begin with and now he is disappointed that he may get moved once again.  Perhaps it has affected his focus of late.

You wonder if they Cubs were ever really considering retaining him or if they planned on dealing him all along? Most of the talk about re-upping him very likely was posturing by the Cubs front office.

The rumors of Darwin Barney being moved are also very real. Teams like him and if he is included as a sweetener in a potential Garza or Ryan Dempster deal, it could be the chip that seals the package the Cubs are looking for. Apparently Barney is another Cub that is very bothered by a potential deal.

It’s no secret the Cubs are looking for young, major league ready starting pitching. However, look for the Cubs to also try and land a young third basemen. This could indicate how they really feel about Josh Vitters.

It’s possible they either don’t see Vitters as along term answer or just maybe not at third base.

Lastly, the Cubs will also be pushing to move Geovany Soto this month if not after the deadline. Bruce Levine reported today that then fired GM Jim Hendry turned down a deal with Pittsburgh last summer. Hendry apparently didn’t think it was kosher to deal the team’s starting catcher for the incoming new GM.

Though it could have been a good move nonetheless, Hendry sure didn’t get much back for guys like Ted Lilly when he did sell.




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  • I'm confused as to why the Cubs would be trying to acquire a third baseman... I probably agree that I don't see Vitters as a long term solution. I actually hope his long term value could be as a utility player spending time at 1st, 3rd and LF. But don't we have one of the best hitting prospects in baseball projected for third base in Javier Baez? And what about Jamier Candelario? I realize they are both young, but figured the Cubs would give Vitters a chance to stick there knowing plan B and C were on their way.

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    I'm not saying you can have too many prospects at one position, I just thought we were pretty deep at 3rd base.

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    Nobody to play 3b next year or 2014 if you don't believe in Vitters or Lake......

    scouts seem to think Vitters can't handle the defensive side and that his offensive numbers won't be enough to make up for the defensive liability.

    Scouts take on Lake is that his bat won't be enough to justify an everyday assignment there either.

    Candelario and Baez are too far away to plan for. Besides it seems that Candelario is better suited for 1B as he moves up. Too big (and slow) for 3B....projects to be the size of Miguel Cabrera.

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    Vitters value as a utility player is limited by his ability to play any of those positions well defensively. To me, Vitters is either a starting 3B or he loses a ton of value.

  • Morosi or Heyman was reporting , via Twitter today, that TOR remains interested in Garza , due to the extra yr of control. AA realizes he needs another veteran arm, even if for next season.

    TOR has and continues to be the team best suited as a trade partner for us. They have a wealth of pitching and positional prospects.

    Thoughts on viable packages for Garz?

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I've been thinking all along that Dempster would be a good fit for Toronto and not likely to turn down a chance to head to Canada. But who knows, maybe they are more interested in Garza and they certainly do have a fine stable of young arms in their system. Syndergaard, Norris, Nicolino, Sanchez, Musgrove, and Comer were all either first or second round draft picks from 2010 or 2011, and none of them are older than 20 years of age. Any of them would be tremendous additions for the Cubs.

  • In reply to WSorBust:

    They'd be more interested in Garza because AA likes his comp picks and this year doesn't look good for them anyway.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    AA likes comp picks too.

    I'm not a trade package guy, some of our readers might have some ideas but I'm sure the Cubs would be interested in the guys WS or Bust listed.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Did someone call for me? Give me a few, and I'll have a package for you.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Mike, some names that will be bandied about are Syndegaard, Sanchez, Nicolino, Gose, Marisnick, and I'm sure that I'm missing some more young arms. Have at it; I'd love to hear some scenarios!

  • Let's hope they execute any potential trade better than the Stewart/Colvin swap.....or the Zambrano/Volstad for that matter.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    This is different. With Stewart they needed a 3rd baseman and had hoped to catch lightning in a bottle. Both Stewart and Colvin had not been playing to potential. Unfortunately it has not worked out, but I would have made the same trade. And Zambrano had to go!!!

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Zambrano had to go. Anything the Cubs received in return was just a bonus.

  • Agreed. That turned into an untenable situation.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Must be fair: the Rizzo/Casher trade was obviously an excellent move and the Marshall/Wood trade was good, even if Wood stumbles down the stretch.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Colvin is a part time player who is protected against certain pitchers, particularly lefties, and has an extremely high BABIP -- and plays in an extreme hitters park. His offensive numbers are a little inflated right now. It won't last. He has some legit power, but jury still very much out if he's a full time player and he's entering his peak years right now.

  • John, It seems like the FO doesn't have much confidence in the cubs minor league system and that lack of confidence has been justifiable given the past. How do they view the minors now?.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    I don't think it's changed much. Obviously they like the guys they brought in and they like what the Cubs did in the 2011 draft.

    Additionally, I think they like Candelario, Hernandez, Amaya and have some reserved hopes for Szczur and Lake as well. They like athletic guys with good baseball tools.

    They are unquestionably concerned with the lack of impact starting pitchers, though there is some depth as far as potential relief arms.

  • I've heard the new regime wasn't so fond of the '11 draft-despite $ spent.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I believe they would have made some different picks in a couple of cases. But we know McLeod took Spangenberg directly after Baez -- and there's no question as to who is the better prospect right now. One of the picks I get the impression they didn't love was Vogelbach. We do know they liked DeVoss since they tried to sign him to a large overslot out of high school.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Not everyone was crazy about Maples too, though I'm not sure what this FO thinks.

  • I haven't seen Vitters play 3B that much. What's perplexing to me is that guys that have good hand eye coordination skills can usually pick it with the glove. What's wrong with his hands or is it his footwork that makes him a bad defender? Or what am I missing here?

  • In reply to Greg Shuey:

    Hands are okay, I've seen some sloppy footwork at times, range is limited by his lack of natural quickness.

  • Either way, it's water under the bridge. On to the task of fixing SP pipeline.

    Back to TOR, despite our need for SP prospects, I could see Theo/Jed being tempted to have Gose or Marisnick included- due to their respective upsides and , to a lesser extent, growing BJax concerns. I think they clearly make the most sense.

  • I heard that a concern was the arms drafted- guessing Maples was a/the the crux of the issue.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Some see him as an RP and possible injury risk. I have to admit I cringed a little when I saw video of him throw.

  • The Sun-Times just had an article about how Castro and Barney are developing into a great up-the-middle tandem. Barney is a plus-20 in defensive runs saved or whatever. Castro is a plus-13. I realize Barney's offense might not totally be there but maybe he can improve with Rowson? I guess with Baez being another hot prospect they kind of have their up-the-middle of the future figured out. I'd just hate to trade Barney now and risk screwing up Castro.

  • I could not agree with this more. Barney is a very hardworking and determined player. He's a good clubhouse guy and I think him and castro are a really good dp combo. I know he isn't likely an all star caliber player and a lot of teams like him in s reserve role but I do think a
    team can win with Barney being your 8th best hitter/OBP guy.

    We could have a possible future lineup that looks something like this

    Cf almora
    Ss castro
    3b baez
    1b rizzo
    Rf soler
    Lf jackson
    C castillo
    2b barney

    Barney could be the veteran presence in this lineup and is someone who guys like Baez can learn from, and while everyother player in this lineup is probably immensely more talented than barney he brings the leadership and hustle qualities that don't exactly grow on trees.

    I think.he could be a really good player for our organization to keep going forward and I would hate to lose him

  • The Cubs should think hard before they move Barney. In a guest post it was noted that he has steller defense, improved power, versitility, and leadership. Trade the captain?
    Garza too! Good pitchers are hard to come by. He is young, strong, healthy, and durable. Projects as a 3 starter at worst. A bird in hand etc.
    The Cubs can have an interesting second half and be in the mix next year.

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    Potential trade package with Toronto for Garza:

    It's not as perfect a matchup as some think. Their very best pitching prospects are still a couple of years away, though they are very promising.

    AA, Eastern League, New Hampshire

    Deck McGuire is is being lit up like a Christmas tree by EL hitters, and he's a 3# at best anyways, and I'm a big believer in what have you done for me lately. I think he is a late inning reliever long term.

    Hi-A, Florida State League, Dunedin

    Asher Wojeciehowski, 23 yo RHSP, had #2 stuff coming out of The Citadel, but he went from working low to mid 90's to working upper 80's low 90's. He is also repeating Hi-A, but so far, he is having more success. I think AW is a back of the rotation starter or a long man in the bullpen. I think this will be a guy, along with Deck McGuire, the Blue Jays will try to push onto any team they deal with. Neither should be the central piece of any deal involving Garza, and I'm not sure I would care to have him as a throw in since the Cubs already have so many guys like him.

    Sean Nolin, 22 yo LHSP, should have better stuff for kid as big as he is, 6-4/235, but his fastball sits mid to high 80's. However, he is one of those kids who gets the most out of what he has. As with McGuire, it's ultimately a what have you done for me lately kind of world, and Nolin is doing it, and he always has. Long term, I think he has Sean Marshall potential. He might be a useful throw in.

    Low-A, Midwest League, Lansing

    When it comes to pitching prospects, Low-A is where it is at for Toronto. Lansing is not a team any other team in the MWL wants to face because every day they're going to be throwing someone who has the potential to be a solid major league starter, and they're almost all pitching like it. Because they're in Low-A and so young, there is a greater risk of them never reaching their potential.

    It starts with Noah Syndergaard, a 19 yo RHP with #2 floor who has the potential to be a #1`, and he pitches like it. He's 6-5/200, and he sits mid 90's, but he has reached triple digits on occassion, and he is often throwing harder as the game goes on. He induces a lot of ground outs because he pitches on such a downward plain, but he gets his share of strikeouts too. He also throws a power curve and a change up. He has improving command of all three pitches. His mechanics and his makeup are said to be solid. He's having a nice year for the Lansing Lugnuts of the MWL, but until he does it in Hi-A and AA, it is what it is.

    Aaron Sanchez, 20 yo/6-4/190/RHP, is another one that has the potential 8to be a front line starter. His fastball sits low 90's, but it will occasionally touch the mid 90's. It has the potential to get better as he fills out. He also throws a sharp curve and change up. Both needs some work but are said to be improving.

    Justin Nicolino, 20yo/6-3/160/LHP, is one to watch as he fills out. Like Sanchez, he already sits low 90's and occasionally touches the mid 90's, and he could get even better as his body fills out. He has an advanced change-up, which he will throw to either side of the plate and often leavers hitters looking silly. His curveball is average. He has a reputation for not being afraid to work inside. Like Sanchez, he has the potential to be a front of the rotation starter.

    Lansing has some less heralded kids who are also putting up solid numbers. but scouts don't see the long term potential for them to be top of the line starters, but any of those kids might make nice throw ins.

    Rookie ball, Appalachian Leage, Bluefield

    Daniel Norris, 19yo/6-2/180/LHSP, is a 2011 draftee, 74th overall pick, who did not play last year because he signed late. He is said to be a very good athlete who played quarterback in high school. There are also some teams that liked him as a hitter, but the Jays liked him as a pitcher, and it's easy to see why. He has four pitches, all of which have a chance to be at least average. The fastball sits low 90's and tops out in the mid 90's with a lot of movement, and he seems to have a pretty good feel for his change up. He also throws a sharp breaking curve and a slider, but both need work. His delivery is said to be easy and very repeatable. He is even riskier than Syndergaard, Sanchez and Nicolino because he has even less of professional track record, but so far, he is getting the best of Appalachian League hitters. Because he is less advanced, I'm not sure how the Blue Jays view his value. They may see him as more or less expendable. It's hard to say.

    One thing I find interesting about Toronto is how they develop pitchers, especially in low-A and short season. You will notice that their best pitching prospects at those levels pitch out of the bullpen occasionally, in addition to starting. They're innings and pitch counts are also very closely monitered. Their prospects are going to be leading their respective leagues in PAP.

    I love playing GM. So here goes. In a trade with Toronto for Garza, I'm definitely insisting on Syndergaard and Nicolino. They're deal breakers for me. It's nothing against Sanchez. I love his potential, but I love Syndergaard more, and I like Nicolino better just because he is a lefty. Also, they're not trading all three of those guys. I'd try to get Norris as a throw in just because of the potential, and because he is further away, maybe the Jays see him as having less value, but they have a number of other guys that could make for good throw ins. Toronto also has some nice bats with lots of potential catcher d'Arnaud and outfielder Jake Marisnik.

    Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is one of those GM's I think would find value in having that extra year of control in Garza. I also think he would find value in having cost controlled players like LaHair and Barney, and 1b/DH and Ss/2b are both needs for the Blue Jays right now, and they will be going into 2013. So with that in mind, here is the deal I propose if it has to be the Blue Jays: Garza, LaHair and Barney to the Blue Jays for Syndergaard, Nicolino, d'Arnaud, Marisnick and two or three throw ins, one of which I hope to be Norris.

    The caveat here is that this may not be the best deal for the Cubs in terms of time frame. As I said above, the best Blue Jays pitching prospects are far from major league ready. The guys in low-A show a lot of potential, but they're not considered sure bets because of their age and where they are. I'd feel a lot better about them if they were in Hi-A and AA, and if the Cubs make a deal with Toronto, what do they do in the short term?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    AA doesnt like giving up prospects, he is very proud of the system he's built and this trade that you've proposed pretty much drains it. i like the deal, and i dont think that its unfair, im just saying i cant see AA ever giving up this many high profile prospects.

    i think the trade is just too big and it needs to be simplified.

    i would think that garza by himself nets us one of sanchez, syndergaard and nicolino (im gonna use nicolino for this example) + norris and aj jiminez. jiminez is a catcher in double a who is said to be extremely advanced behind the plate and if the bat plays (and hes been doing just fine) could be a yadier molina type guy.

    so at this point the trade is:
    toronto gets: garza
    cubs get: nicolino, norris, aj jiminez and a throw in guy.

    add lahair to the mix and i think toronto would throw in whoever they liked less between syndergaard and sanchez and possibly another throw in guy.

    so the final trade would then become
    toronto: garza, lahair
    cubs: nicolino, sanchez, noris, jiminez, 1 or 2 throw in guys with high upside.

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    In reply to jshmoran:

    I won't disagree with you. AA is notoriously hard to deal with, and I'm not saying this is likely to happen. I'm also not saying it should happen. Again, it really bothers me that Toronto doesn't have anything starting pitching wise that will help us immediately. Because of that, I think the Blue Jays should pay more in terms of quantity. AA can just get over it.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    exactly AA is ridiculously hard to deal with, which is why i think u have to make the deal as simplified as possible in order to get value, i think the bigger the deal the more he will rip you off.
    also i know that it sucks that none of the pitchers are ready to help us immediately but i think thats a good thing. in this scenario we give up just garza so volstad can take his spot in the rotation (and since we arent exactly trying to win games, im completely okay with that)

    also we still have dempster, soto, soriano, baker, johnson, maholm, camp and possibly marmol that can be throw into deals to get a pitcher for the rotation next year. if the goal is to compile impact talent, then the garza deal definitely does that and we can address the big league club/upper minors with other deals.

  • Toronto is a waste of time to deal with. Guy is an egomaniac, always wants to rip everybody off in a trade so he can brag about it.
    Cubs are barking up the wrong tree trying to move Barney. Best fielding second baseman in the league after Phillips, and we have an up the middle combo for the next 10 years. And they are both cost controlled. Darwin is not horrible with the stick for his position either. What am I missing here? Keep your good players and get rid of the bad ones boys.

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    Long term, Darwin Barney is the kind of player that good to great teams have as a reserve. He is a glue guy, but he ultimately isn't an impact player, and that is what you strive for. If packaging Barney gets you an impact player or multiple prospects with the potential to be impact players, you do it. If not, you don't. Also, I wouldn't necessarily disagree with you about AA. He can go pound sand if he doesn't want to pay the price.

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