The Cubs are telling teams they'll listen to trade offers on everyone this winter while trying to rebuild the team to be competitive in the future, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports tweeted something very similar around the same time, so perhaps the Cubs are trying to get the word out. ESPN's Buster Olney also joined in, saying Sean Marshall and Matt Garza figure to draw the most interest between now and July 31st.
The concept of listening to offers for any player is not unexpected for new Cubs president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer, and marks a change from Jim Hendry's reported summer stance of not listening on players he thought could help him in 2012. Still, a team drawing three million fans a year doesn't often embark on a full-on offseason rebuilding effort. The Cubs certainly haven't done that anytime recently. Hoyer isn't afraid to make an unpopular decision, though, having traded Adrian Gonzalez for prospects months after his Padres nearly won the NL West. And even after trading Gonzalez, Hoyer made a series of moves designed to keep the team competitive in 2011. The Cubs aren't ruling out anything at this point, Hoyer told MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
Garza, 27, could be one of the best available starters this offseason. He's made 30 starts each of the last four years, has AL East experience, and struck out a career-best 197 this year with the move to the NL. He's under team control for two more years, though his salary could approach $9MM in 2012 and will likely enter eight figures in '13. Marshall is under contract for $3.1MM in 2012 and eligible for free agency after that. With a 2.45 ERA, 10.1 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, and 0.2 HR/9 over the last two years, he's become an elite reliever capable of a Mike Adams-like bounty.