Matt Garza Rumors
The trade deadline is just two weeks away, and with the All-Star Game in the rear-view mirror, Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio writes that the market will pick up rapidly beginning Friday. Here are some highlights from the highly informative article penned by the former GM of the Reds, Expos and Nationals (ESPN Insider required and recommended)...
- Bowden hears there's an 80 percent chance that Matt Garza will be traded before his next scheduled start (Monday or Tuesday of next week). The Rangers, Red Sox and Diamondbacks are still involved, He describes the D-backs as "dark horses," adding that their odds in the Garza sweepstakes would increase if they were willing to part with left-hander David Holmberg.
- The Rockies could also be interested in Garza, but they're not clear-cut buyers right now, and the prospective cost is prohibitive to them. If they were to sell, Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle could be had. Michael Cuddyer could be moved, but only if Colorado is "blown away."
- The White Sox have been "extremely disappointed" with offers for Alex Rios thus far. Bowden feels that offers will improve as the deadline draws closer.
- The Justin Morneau era in Minnesota is coming to an end, and the Twins are prepared to trade the former MVP, according to Bowden. The Rays, Pirates and Yankees are said by Bowden to be possible destinations for Morneau.
- The Cardinals, Reds, Dodgers and Braves have all inquired on Twins closer Glen Perkins and been turned away. Those four teams are all monitoring the health of Jesse Crain as well.
- The Yankees are trying to use Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and catching prospect J.R. Murphy to acquire a bat but have had no luck thus far. None of those players figure to interest the Twins in regards to Morneau, Bowden adds, given the impending free agency of Hughes and Chamberlain and the presence of Joe Mauer behind the plate for the Twins.
On January 8th, 2011, the previous Cubs front office led by GM Jim Hendry finalized a trade that brought Matt Garza (and Fernando Perez and Zach Rosscup) to Chicago from the Rays for Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Robinson Chirinos, Sam Fuld, and Brandon Guyer. At the time, ESPN's Buster Olney heard that Andrew Friedman and the Rays "didn't get much in the way of high-end prospects; more depth type guys than impact." Archer, 24, seems ready to challenge that evaluation as a member of the Rays' rotation, while Lee, a 22-year-old shortstop, was knocking on the door of the Majors until a knee injury ended his season in April. It's clear now the Cubs gave up a huge haul to acquire three years of Garza; now their new regime is marketing the remaining two to three months of his services to recoup as much young talent as possible. The latest:
- Jon Heyman of CBS Sports echoes Sullivan's earlier report that the Rangers aren't willing to include Martin Perez in a trade for Garza. The Red Sox are said to be "thinking about" Garza and would be a major threat if they entered the fray, according to Heyman. Boston has many pitching prospects acquired by Theo Epstein during his time as the team's GM. The Diamondbacks are in the mix as well, though they may prefer Jake Peavy. The Cubs are likely to place more emphasis on ceiling than proximity to the Major Leagues, according to Heyman, with a slight preference for pitching as opposed to position players.
- The Rangers, Cardinals, Pirates, Indians, Blue Jays, and Dodgers "are the strongest pursuers" with a handful of other teams showing at least cursory interest in Garza, writes David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com. A handful of club executives who spoke to Kaplan consider Garza a very strong No. 3 starter, for whom the Cubs have an "exceptionally high" asking price. Kaplan adds that the Rangers and Blue Jays "are both deciding how far they want to go to acquire Garza." Kaplan's baseball personnel experts feel the Cubs will come close but fall short of the Brewers' Zack Greinke package from last summer, which consisted of shortstop Jean Segura and pitchers Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena. Complicating that comparison is the fact that Segura raised his stock considerably this year; at the time of the deal, Baseball America ranked him 43rd among prospects and ESPN's Keith Law had him outside of his top 50.
- Baseball America's midseason top 50 prospects list came out last week. Prospects in the 35-50 range who play for potential Garza suitors include Joc Pederson of the Dodgers, Anthony Ranaudo and Garin Cecchini of the Red Sox, Alen Hanson of the Pirates, Aaron Sanchez of the Blue Jays, Mike Olt of the Rangers, Kolten Wong of the Cardinals, and Adam Eaton of the Diamondbacks. Kaplan notes that the Rangers are "thought to be dangling" Olt, a third baseman. A lot of the position players named here either seem unlikely to be traded or aren't great fits for the Cubs, who might prefer to get a pitcher as the headliner.
- The personnel heads who spoke to Joel Sherman of the New York Post picture Garza going to the Rangers, who have the need and the goods to make a deal. 22-year-old southpaw Martin Perez "could be a key element for the Cubs to move Garza to Texas," writes Sherman. The Rangers are not going to give up Perez, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. He names Neil Ramirez, Carlos Pimentel, Leury Garcia, and Luis Sardinas as more realistic possibilities.
9:54pm: ESPN's Jim Bowden hears that there is an 80% chance Garza is dealt before his next start (Twitter link). The Cubs have an off-day on Thursday and Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to start on Friday, so Garza's next start could come on Saturday at the earliest. Bowden also listed the Diamondbacks as a possible Garza suitor, the first time we've heard that team in the mix, as well as the usual suspects of the Rangers, Nationals, Red Sox, Rockies and (to a lesser degree) the Indians.
12:51pm: Kaplan is hearing that Garza will be moved by Saturday, though the Cubs will still make sure that someone meets their price as opposed to rushing a trade. One AL scout tells Kaplan that the Cubs are in a "phenomenal spot to land a tremendous deal" because Garza has looked so strong of late (Twitter links).
12:46pm: Following his recent string of success, teams are willing to engage Cubs president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer in serious trade talks over the All-Star break, according to David Kaplan of CSN Chicago. A former general manager told Kaplan on Sunday that it's become "crystal clear" to other teams that Garza is at 100 percent.
A second "significant industry source" told Kaplan that the Rangers, Blue Jays and Indians are all involved in talks for Garza, but that the Cardinals are the dark horse in the pursuit of Garza. St. Louis saved loads of money by letting Albert Pujols walk, and their farm system is rife with high-upside prospects. Hoyer and Epstein will have no problem dealing Garza within the division, writes Kaplan, though he cautions that the Cardinals themselves (as well as the Pirates) may be hesitant to deal top prospects to a division rival.
Garza, 29, has a 3.17 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 39.8 percent ground-ball rate in 71 innings for the Cubs this season, his final year before free agency.
- The Padres, who are now 42-54, have decided they're sellers, Knobler writes. They will listen to offers for Chase Headley (who is eligible for free agency after next season), but Knobler suggests they're in no rush to deal him. Instead, they could deal Edinson Volquez and/or bullpen arms like Huston Street.
- The Orioles have already traded for Scott Feldman, and they might continue to be active on the trade market, but Knobler suggests their biggest addition might come from the promotion of Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia, who is hitting .367/.406/.467 in his first 15 games at Triple-A Norfolk.
- Knobler confirms that the Cardinals have talked to the Cubs about Matt Garza, and suggests that the two teams' front offices might not find the possibility of trading with one another quite as strange as some fans might. Knobler notes that the last significant deal between the rival squads occurred in 2002, when the Cubs sent Jeff Fassero to St. Louis.
- Elsewhere, Knobler writes that the Marlins may be becoming less inclined to trade Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins feel that they could improve quickly, and may want to wait to see how Stanton (who is only 23 and is not eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season) and their other top young players perform together. The Marlins will continue to shop relievers and older position players, but youngsters like Jose Fernandez, Jacob Turner and Marcell Ozuna evidently have the Marlins wondering whether they could join Stanton as part of the core of the next good Marlins team.
11:35pm: Garza denies being informed he will likely be traded, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat tweets.
3:30pm: The Cubs have informed Matt Garza he will likely be traded after contract talks failed to produce an extenstion, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Rangers and Indians, according to Heyman, are clearly interested in Garza while the Red Sox are waiting upon some clarity on the return of injured starter Clay Buchholz. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are believed to be a stealth player for the fifth-ranked free agent on MLBTR's 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings. Yesterday, we learned the Blue Jays are "front runners" in the Garza trade derby, but Heyman writes there is little to no evidence, at the moment, they are actively involved.
Heyman reports the hangup in the negotiations between Garza and the Cubs is over the average annual value of the deal. Just last night, Garza still pegged the odds of returning to Chicago as 50/50.
If you're looking for some interesting reading late into this Saturday night, you might try one of these two pieces. Recent Rangers acquisition and all-time great hitter Manny Ramirez may have remade himself over three months in Taiwan, writes Sam Graham-Felsen, or he may have just kept being Manny. Either way, with a strong start to his Triple-A assignment, Ramirez could be close to a fascinating return to the bigs. Just as unlikely, if not moreso, is the path of Blue Jays reliever Steve Delabar from washout to All Star; Harry Pavlidis of the Washington Post has the story. Elsewhere in the American League ...
- While the Cubs' Matt Garza currently pitches in the National League, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com says that he could soon return to the AL. Levine reports that the Rangers and Blue Jays are the "front runners" in acquiring Garza's services for the balance of 2013. Though the Rangers have frequently been mentioned as pursuers of Garza, who figures to be the top starter available, the Jays have generally not been placed atop the list. Nevertheless, Levine says that Toronto has been very active in scouting the righty over his last three starts. As for Texas, Levine says that power-hitting prospect Mike Olt would probably be included in a deal.
- Another American League club, the Orioles, is likely out on Garza, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. After already dealing for one Chicago starter, Scott Feldman, Baltimore apparently believes that Garza will require too large a commitment in prospects and cash to warrant a deal.
- If the Yankees were still hoping to get a contribution this year from fallen star Alex Rodriguez, the odds appear to be on the downturn. Bill Madden and Teri Thompson of the New York Daily News report that, after learning today of the nature of MLB's case against him arising out of the Biogenesis scandal, Rodriguez's representatives could be contemplating an attempt at a "plea deal" that could result in a 150-game suspension. (That a "clearly shaken" A-Rod reportedly went on to engage in yet another dust-up with the club over his rehab situation could be another hurdle to his return.)
- With Rodriguez and possibly other players considering such an arrangement to limit the scope of punishment, and the league reportedly prepared to move aggressively after the All-Star break, it is looking more and more likely that the impact of the scandal will be felt this season. While the potential for a drawn-out process remains, any agreements to bypass the appeals procedure and agree to penalties would presumably result in a more immediate imposition of suspensions.
With today's earlier notes on the division and several relevant bullets from our most recent post, the National League Central continues to be busy. We've also seen another trade deadline hotspot develop in the NL East. Let's look at the latest:
- With Matt Garza taking the hill for the Cubs tonight, ESPN.com's Buster Olney tweets that it is looking increasingly likely that it will be his last time doing so. Olney writes that Chicago is making progress in trade talks with at least two teams, and could be in position to complete a trade over the All-Star break.
- Another piece of Cubs trade bait, outfielder Nate Schierholtz, is expected to get a few days off for general wear and tear. According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link), the ambiguous reasoning for the time off has led some scouts to suggest that Chicago could be shelving Schierholtz in anticipation of a trade.
- One team that could be in on the Cubs' outfielder is the division-rival Pirates, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. With Pittsburgh failing to receive adequate production from the right field position, Biertempfel says that multiple sources tell him that the team is looking closely at both Schierholtz and White Sox outfielder Alex Rios.
- Everyone's favorite buying/selling fence-straddlers, the Phillies, have suffered a major blow to the team's 2013 chances with the team reporting that center fielder Ben Revere has suffered a broken foot. (Twitter links.) While the full severity is not yet known, Revere is set to see a specialist on Monday and a relatively prolonged absence seems inevitable. With some already wondering whether Ryan Howard's knee surgery could drive the Phils to sell, the loss of Revere -- who had emerged as a major contributor over the last few months -- can only increase that likelihood. MLBTR's Aaron Steen took a look at the Phils' decision-making process last night, before Revere came up hurt.
In a video report, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal passes on some updates on developing trade situations around the league. Here are the main takeaways:
- The Cubs have had relatively detailed talks on an extension with free-agent-to-be Matt Garza -- including years and dollars -- but Rosenthal says it remains much more likely that the starter will be dealt. There is a solid chance that a deal could be made before Garza's scheduled July 22 outing, says Rosenthal, with Chicago seemingly willing to accept less in return if a team is willing to eat more of the remainder of Garza's $10.25MM deal.
- Echoing previous reports, Rosenthal lists the Dodgers, Nationals, Red Sox, and Rangers as the teams most prominently in on Garza. He does note that there may be a few other teams who could make such a move. We've recently heard of interest from the Indians as well, though cold water has already been thrown on that idea.
- Rosenthal adds via Twitter that the Rangers have two scouts watching Garza pitch tonight, with the Tigers, Orioles, Pirates, and Blue Jays also scouting the game. Of course, as Rosenthal further tweets, the other clubs are more likely interested in Chicago's relievers and position players.
- While Rosenthal says that the Cardinals would be a nice fit for a starter like Garza, he says that it remains extremely unlikely that GM John Mozeliak would part with any elite talent to make such a deal. Rosenthal says that Cards could be on the starter market, but only if the club feels it cannot rely on internal options like Chris Carpenter.
- Meanwhile, Rosenthal says St. Louis does not feel any urgency to make a move at shortstop. While Pete Kozma is far from perfect, it would be hard to upgrade the position substantially at a non-prohibitive price.
- One obvious trade candidate, Raul Ibanez of the Mariners, is somewhat unlikely to be dealt in spite of his cheap, expiring contract and solid performance this season. As we've heard elsewhere recently, Rosenthal says that GM Jack Zduriencik would be hesitant to deal the once-and-current Mariner without consulting with him. According to Rosenthal, Seattle is more likely to trade other veterans like reliever Oliver Perez and starter Joe Saunders.
- The Rockies could be interested in making a deal for the Yankees' Phil Hughes, but Rosenthal says that they would be looking at him as a bullpen piece rather than a starter. If the Yanks are in fact looking for a significant return for Hughes, of course, the Rockies would seem hard-pressed to get an overly attractive price on the pending free agent.
- One other player the Rockies are looking at is starter Vance Worley of the Twins, who is currently working out his issues (with some success) at Triple-A. According to Rosenthal, Minnesota is loathe to ship off Worley at a discount because they view him as a rebound candidate and maintain team control through 2017. Worley's extended minor league stay could make him even cheaper, as he may lose his expected Super Two status and figures to earn less whenever he does reach arbitration.
While most in the baseball world will fly out to Queens for the upcoming All-Star festivities, Cubs president Theo Epstein will miss out on the fun and Pat LaFrieda's steak sandwiches in order to man the phones back in Chicago, writes Tom Ginnetti of the Sun-Times. "These days, more is done on the cellphones,’’ Epstein said of trade talk. "It’s almost harder to get things done when you’re at the All Star Game trying to find people." Here's more out of the NL Central..
- We've been hearing that the price tag on Matt Garza is rather high and with 18 days to go until the trade deadline, it hasn't dipped, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
- The Cubs have put a lot of work into their farm system in recent years and it appears to be in great shape, particularly with this year's addition of No. 2 overall pick Kris Bryant, writes Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald.
- The Pirates' unpopular trade of Nate McLouth in 2009 has yielded tremendous results, writes Mike Petriello of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). While McLouth has been up-and-down in the four years since the deal, Pittsburgh landed promising pitchers Jeff Locke and Charlie Morton.
The Twins have dropped nine of their past 10 games and now sit 15 games below .500 and 12 games out of first place in the AL Central division. General manager Terry Ryan said on Saturday that the team's current 10-game road trip would determine if they're buyers or sellers, and they've now lost five in a row. Here's more on the Twins and the rest of the AL Central...
- A source tells Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com that they expect the Twins to approach Justin Morneau about the potential price tag of an extension before the trade deadline (Twitter link). However, the Twins have yet to do so, Wolfson says.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Indians are on the lookout for rotation upgrades, but they prefer pitchers who are controllable beyond 2013. As such, Matt Garza is a tough fit for the Tribe.
- The Royals are likely to retain Ervin Santana, though he'd "instantly become one of the hottest names on the market" if he were shopped, Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reports. One scout tells Knobler that Santana "might be better than Garza." Kansas City has the best record in baseball over the last 36 days, but is eight games into 20 consecutive matchups with teams that have winning records. If the Royals fall far out of contention, GM Dayton Moore would probably field offers for the righty, Knobler says.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.