David Banks/Getty Images
Two! It's going to take at least two of your top prospects to get me away from the Cubs!
While Yoenis Cespedes and Yu Darvish held people's interest as international free agents, it was the Chicago Cubs' 28-year-old right-handed starter, Matt Garza, who was igniting the hot stove. At one point or another this winter, the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers and Miami Marlins were all linked to him.
While he's really not an ace, Garza has succeeded in both the National and American Leagues, specifically the AL East, and he's signed through the 2013 season. So it would stand to reason that nearly everyone who considers themselves a contender has at least some level of interest in acquiring his services.
Comcast Sports' David Kaplan tweeted at the beginning of the year that the asking price for Garza was "tremendously high," and that interested parties were waiting to see how things would play out.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports said that the Cubs were looking for young pitching in return for Garza, specifically pointing to the Blue Jays and Yankees as clubs with the arms to make a deal happen.
But at the same time, ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews revealed that the Cubs were asking the Yankees for two, if not all three, of their top prospects: Manny Banuelos, Delin Betances and Jesus Montero.
So with that in the past, what do we know today?
Just over a week ago, ESPN's Buster Olney said that the Cubs would deal Garza "for the right offer." Translation: to the highest bidder—but with a steep reserve price already set that needs to be met. For months, it's been opined that the Cubs would be perfectly happy to sign him to a long-term extension, something Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reminded us recently.
To Garza's credit, while he'd like to stay in Chicago, he doesn't care where he pitches, as he told Alex Spier of WEEI 850 AM in Boston:
I just want to keep playing. It doesn’t matter where. I’ll pitch on the freaking moon. I love the city. My kids love the city. It would be a great place for them to grow up. But like I said, it’s out of my control.
I'd love to stay here, but if that's not in [Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein's] plans, then so be it. I just want to keep playing. The AL East doesn't scare me a bit. Everywhere I go, it's a blast.
Verdict: Fact. Garza could be dealt, but someone's going to have to overpay to get him.