Let’s just face it. At this point, we really have no idea what the Cubs’ front office is doing. It’s been an air tight operation and the only news that has “leaked” has likely been because Theo Epstein has wanted it to leak.
As tough as it is to speculate with a front office like this, much of the chatter this winter has revolved around whether or not the Cubs will trade Matt Garza. Several teams have been in on Garza, and it’s a market that appears to be shrinking.
The Cubs are asking a lot for Garza, likely more than what they gave up to get him. Two teams that were expected to be in the mix for Garza, the Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals, have likely filled the holes in their staffs that Garza might have filled. The Rangers won the bidding for Yu Darvish and the Nats acquired Gio Gonzalez on Thursday.
There are still a few teams that could be interested in acquiring the 28-year-old Garza, including the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox. The Blue Jays have missed out on both Mat Latos, who went to the Cincinnati Reds, and Yu Darvish, but are also reported to be interested in Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens.
Jurrjens is just one name out on the market that also includes Garza and Tampa Bay starter Wade Davis. Those are really the big three left, especially with John Danks signing an extension with the White Sox, despite big time trade speculation this offseason.
When it comes down to it, the biggest question facing the Cubs this winter is whether or not they will trade Garza. That’s a bigger question than any sort of Prince Fielder speculation.
Given what we’ve seen recently, with the haul that teams like the Padres and A’s received in their trades of Latos and Gonzalez, respectively, I would imagine it increases the possibility that the Cubs trade Garza. Each of those teams received four prospects for their pitcher, with the A’s taking home three of the Nationals’ top ten prospects in the organization.
There is certainly some validity to the question of whether or not the Cubs would be more willing to deal Garza after seeing some of the returns for the two pitchers who don’t quite yet have the resume of the righty. Up to this point, I’m not sure how willing they were to deal him, with Theo going as far as saying Garza was the type of pitcher they’d like to build the organization around.
The term ‘rebuild’ has been thrown around a great deal with this Cubs team recently. We’ve heard from everyone’s favorite “analyst”, Dave Kaplan, that the Cubs will be launching a full-scale rebuilding effort. The way Kaplan makes it sound, the Cubs plan on getting rid of every single player of any sort of importance on the team not named Starlin Castro.
There’s no doubt that the Cubs are in a rebuilding mode. But in the market that they are, I have a hard time seeing them completely throw away a season, even if they know they won’t be World Series contenders. Trading pieces like Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano makes sense, but adding guys like Garza and Carlos Marmol to that list of players to dump is hard to imagine.
Regardless, the question in the headline is whether or not the Cubs will be more enticed to trade Garza after seeing the returns that both the Nats and Pads got with their top-of-the-rotation pitchers. I don’t think the situation has changed. Throughout this situation, my thoughts have been that the Cubs would prefer to hang onto Garza, but will definitely deal him if overwhelmed. That view, if true, is likely still the same.
It remains to be seen who could muster up the prospects to acquire Matt Garza, but you can bet that teams like the Jays and Red Sox will certainly be in on him. As we patiently wait to see what the Cubs do with the rest of their roster this offseason, most of us can’t help but wonder whether or not Matt Garza will be a Cub in 2012.