Chicago Cubs: Why Trading Matt Garza Is a Bad Idea

Eli GreenspanSenior Analyst IMay 9, 2012

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 17: Matt Garza #22 of the Chicago Cubs looks on during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on April 17, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Cubs are currently in last place in the NL Central, seven games back with a 12-18 record. Despite the teams struggles, there are several bright spots throughout the organization that are giving people an excuse to be patient. 

Cubs ace Matt Garza is off to a strong start, going 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA and 36 strikeouts through 33.2 innings pitched. He has made five starts, with his next start coming in a few days.

There's been a lot of talk about the Cubs moving Matt Garza for more prospects because they are in a rebuilding mode. That is not entirely true. The Cubs made a few small moves this year—the payoffs of which we are already seeing—which has encouraged fans to look ahead rather than focus on this year.

With Garza, Jeff Samardzija, and Ryan Dempster, the Cubs have an above-average top of the rotation. Paul Maholm has been okay, but Volstad has been far from perfect, and outside shots at the rotation like Travis Wood remain in Triple-A. 

Trading Garza for prospects would be worthwhile only if the players coming to Chicago were ready to make an impact. There are few teams open to making such a move and even fewer teams with prospects that would entice the Cubs. 

Garza will be expensive but he won't be a free agent until after 2013, so the Cubs are in no rush to lock him up—or move him for that matter.

He is the anchor that—if lost (or essentially traded)—would send the Cubs' pitching rotation to the bottom of the pack in the NL. They would be forced to rely on more Triple-A arms like Wood, Casey Coleman, and Chris Rusin.

That would kill the bullpen and put a damper on the club, and certainly hurt ticket sales down the stretch.  

The Cubs are not as far behind as everyone thinks. That is a good thing.

They have added several good young players that, hopefully, over the course of this season can develop into even better players.

Keeping Garza in the fold keeps the Cubs rotation strong and alleviates some of the pressure on the bullpen.