Nearly every team in the league has been connected to Garza in one way or another, and the rumors and speculation continue to pick up steam as we get closer to the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31.
How is a fan supposed to keep up with it all?
That's where B/R comes in—we'll be bringing you the most up-to-the-minute rumblings about the Cubs' most valuable trade chip, along with analysis and everything else that comes with it. The best part—everything will be right here, so there's no risk of missing a juicy rumor that just broke.
Garza says that while his preference is to stay in Chicago, he'd "pitch on the freaking moon" if he had to. While that's an unlikely destination, let's take a look at some more realistic landing spots for the talented righty, shall we?
*This will be updated on a regular basis—often multiple times per day—so while the post date will always show as July 13, simply click to the next slide to see the latest rumors and rumblings about Garza as the Cubs prepare to take the next step in the rebuilding process.*
UPDATE June 30th, 11:45 PM
Just when we thought that any chance the Cubs had of moving Matt Garza before the deadline had evaporated...BAM!
The rumor mill is churning fast and furious as we speak.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says that the Cubs and Reds have had discussions about Garza and been unable to agree on a deal thus far; conversely, CBS Sports' Danny Knobler says a deal isn't going to happen:
Cubs have tried to trade Garza to Reds (and many others), as @ken_rosenthal wrote, but source calls deal to Reds doubtful
— DKnobler (@DKnobler) July 31, 2012
The Blue Jays remain very interested—to the point that they asked the Cubs if they could conduct a physical on Garza, according to the Toronto Star's Richard Griffin. ESPN's Jayson Stark confirms Toronto's interest:
Latest Garza tidbit: "Very high chance" he gets traded, says one exec. Jays have been bearing down on him.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 31, 2012
#Cubs still trying to move Matt Garza despite health issues - & think they could. "I'd be surprised if he's not moved," says one exec.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 31, 2012
That's the first time in a long time that the speculation was so overwhelmingly slanted towards a Garza trade going down before the deadline.
It sure looks like things are about to heat up in Chicago.
Garza isn't going anywhere.
July 27th Update:
As first reported by Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago, Matt Garza has a slight buildup of fluid in his triceps area and will not make another start before the trade deadline on Tuesday.
Said Cubs' skipper Dale Sveum:
(The MRI) came back very clean except for a little showing of the cramping in the tricep there just a little bitty trace of fluid in there that's getting better. And he's doing better so we'll just wait and see what happens with his throwing program and see how that goes.
While this certainly takes the chances of the Cubs being able to move Garza by the time the trade deadline rolls around on Tuesday from "likely" to "slim-to-none," it isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Signed through the 2013 season, Garza will still have value this winter. At that point, the other teams in the league will have a better handle not only on what they need to do with their major league rosters to prepare for the season, but they'll also have a better feel for how ready their prospects are to contribute to the big club.
It's not the ideal situation, but this isn't the end of the world either.
And who knows? Maybe this results in the Cubs and Garza agreeing to an extension in the winter.
While that might not be the outcome that most would like to see, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world either.
July 23rd Update:
ESPN's Jim Bowden says that talks between the Dodgers and Cubs are progressing, specifically mentioning Zach Lee as a piece that will head back to Chicago if they can agree on the rest of the package:
Cubs not resting on their laurels continue trade discussions with Dodgers on deal that would send Matt Garza for package including Zach Lee
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 23, 2012
I said over a week ago that Lee would have to be part of any deal that involved Garza, and lo-and-behold, it looks like that could be coming to fruition.
Stay tuned to this one Cubs fans—Garza could be dealt in the next 24-48 hours.
July 21st Update:
ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine says that the Dodgers have switched gears and instead of trying to acquire Ryan Dempster, for whom the Dodgers had an offer on the table yesterday, GM Ned Colletti is now honing in on Matt Garza.
Garza will cost the Dodgers more in both the quantity and quality of the prospects that they would have to send to the Cubs to get the 28-year-old righty, a package that unquestionably would include the Dodgers' top prospect, RHP Zach Lee.
The Dodgers have been said to be the prohibitive favorites to land Cubs' starter Ryan Dempster, but as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports notes, the two sides have spoken about Matt Garza as well.
Two weeks ago, ESPN's Buster Olney reported that the Dodgers were dangling two of their best pitching prospects in an attempt to pry shortstop Jed Lowrie away from the Houston Astros:
Dodgers are talking to Astros about a trade that would send Jed Lowrie to the Dodgers,with minor-leaguers Zach Lee and Garrett Gould to HOU.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 30, 2012
It's reasonable to assume that both prospects could be in play to acquire Garza as well. Lee projects as a number one starter while Gould is more of a middle-of-the-rotation arm, and neither one is expected to make their big league debut for at least another year or two.
While neither would help the team immediately, the Cubs need blocks to build a rotation around. Landing this duo would be an excellent place to start.
July 20th Update:
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that Boston's front office is split on whether Garza is actually an upgrade over the pitching that they currently have, and that their hesitation has pushed them behind a few unnamed teams in the race to acquire the Cubs' right-hander.
Source: Red Sox lagging behind a few teams in matt garza hunt. Not all sox personnel feel garza would be an upgrade over what they have.
— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 20, 2012
You can bet that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer aren't losing any sleep over Boston's indecision. Moving Garza isn't going to prove to be a difficult task.
July 19th Update:
While there haven't been any reports of possible names being discussed between the two teams, ESPN's Jayson Stark reports that the Red Sox have turned their attention from both Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza to Garza only:
#Cubs still working to trade Ryan Dempster ASAP. One source says Red Sox are officially out on Dempster, still in on Matt Garza
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 19, 2012
Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino spoke on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan radio show today and told the duo that GM Ben Cherington is not only open to the possibility of making a big move, but that he's actively looking to do so:
This is a club has been built on bold moves over the years, going back to the Nomar Garciaparra trade as one example. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that Ben Cherington and the entire baseball operations are all pointed to working hard to July 31.
It will be interesting to see whether or not such a bold move includes giving up some of their best prospects to acquire Garza.
Michael Silverman from the Boston Herald reports that while the Red Sox have touched base with the Cubs on both Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza, they have not engaged in meaningful negotiations up to this point.
There isn't a farm system in baseball that the Cubs' brain trust knows better than Boston's, with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer both having played integral parts in acquiring the vast majority of their top prospects.
While Boston lacks the quality young pitching that the Cubs are said to desire, they do have a number of position players that would be of interest, none more than 19-year-old shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who will probably outgrow the position and slide over to third base.
I wouldn't say that the odds are good that the two sides could work out a deal for Garza, mainly because I think the Cubs should hold out for quality pitching prospects in exchange for Garza. With that being said, if acquiring Bogaerts is an option, they should pull the trigger before Boston changes their mind; he has superstar written all over him.
Jacob Turner could wind up in Wrigley...eventually.
July 17th Update:
Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Cubs had a big scouting contingent following the Tigers' Double-A team in Erie as the two sides touched base on Matt Garza, though talks have yet to progress:
As far as top prospects go, only right-handed reliever Bruce Rondon and third baseman Nick Castellanos have spent time with Erie this season, and the Tigers continue to say that Castellanos is not available—so it's a bit curious why the Cubs were scouting Erie instead of Triple-A Toledo.
While Castellanos may not be someone the Cubs can get their hands on, the Tigers have not shot down the idea of moving their top pitching prospects, including Casey Crosby, Brenny Paulino, Rondon and Jacob Turner.
Detroit has the prospects to make a deal work with the Cubs, so expect the volume on their talks to increase as the trade deadline continues to draw near.
Could Mike Montgomery become a Cub?
To call the Royals' interest in Matt Garza surprising would be an understatement—but should we be surprised?
Royals' GM Dayton Moore is unwavering in his goal of adding quality starting pitching to the team, and Danny Knobler of CBS Sports says that Moore and Jed Hoyer have had discussions revolving around Matt Garza.
While the Royals are not going to include either of their stud outfield prospects—Wil Myers and Bubba Starling—or top pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi in a deal for Garza, years of futility and a solid scouting department have left the Royals with a number of quality prospects with high ceilings.
23-year-old lefty Mike Montgomery, who has struggled over the past year-and-a-half, was ranked as the 23rd best prospect in baseball entering the season by Baseball America, and could benefit from a change of scenery.
Other names to consider include third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert, LHP John Lamb and right-handers Yordano Ventura and Kelvin Herrera, just to name a few.
This is one to keep an eye on—if the Cubs are going to move Garza, it'll be for the best package of prospects that they can get. There aren't many teams who can offer as intriguing a package as the Royals, and they very well could sneak in and snag Garza away from the grasp of the contenders who are currently out shopping.
Garza was impressive against the Diamondbacks on Sunday.
July 17th Update:
Accordng to ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine. scouts from the Tigers, Dodgers, Yankees, Pirates, Rangers and Blue Jays were in attendance to watch Matt Garza make his best start in more than two months on Sunday against the Diamondbacks.
We have touched base on a number of those teams previously, with the exception of the Pirates and Rangers.
While the Pirates aren't going to include either of their stud pitching prospects, Gerritt Cole or Jameson Taillon in a deal for Garza, outfielder Starling Marte could be an option.
The Rangers have the third base prospect the Cubs crave in Mike Olt in addition to young pitchers including Martin Perez who could become part of a deal for Garza.
It's all speculation at this point, but one thing is for sure—the fact that Garza not only comes under contract for the 2013 season but would net the acquiring team a compensatory draft pick were he to leave as a free agent following next season can only increase his value to contenders looking to add him for the stretch run.
The Yankees have been linked to Garza for months—as far back as this past December, when CBS Sports' Jon Heyman named the Bronx Bombers as one of two teams with the pieces needed to strike a deal with the Cubs:
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 28, 2011
Only a few days after that, ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews reported that the Cubs wanted two, if not all three of the Yankees' top prospects at the time in exchange for Garza: C Jesus Montero, LHP Manny Banuelos and RHP Dellin Betances.
Montero has since been traded away and while Heyman doesn't believe that the Yanks will be players at the deadline this year, he tells Grantland's Jonah Keri that Matt Garza would be their primary target should they decide to get involved.
It's debatable whether the Yankees still possess the high-end pitching prospects that the Cubs want—both Banuelos and Betances have taken significant steps in the wrong direction thus far in 2012, and their major league-ready arms: D.J. Mitchell, David Phelps and Adam Warren don't project to be more than back-of-the-rotation arms or long men out of the bullpen.
The Yankees will stay close to the situation up until the deadline, but it's hard to see the two clubs matching up on a potential deal.
Toronto's starting rotation has been decimated by injury this season, yet the Jays remain alive and well in the American League playoff race and are looking to add a quality arm—one under team control past this season:
#BlueJays showing most interest in pitchers under control beyond this year. Matt Garza and Wandy Rodriguez high on their list, sources say.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 7, 2012
This shouldn't come as a surprise, as the Jays have been linked to Garza going back to last year:
While two of their young arms, Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison have landed on the 60-day disabled list, the Jays have a handful of quality young pitchers on the farm that could interest the Cubs, including Noah Syndergaard, Daniel Norris, Justin Nicolino, Deck McGuire and Aaron Sanchez.
No team in baseball has a farm system stocked with as many quality prospects as the Blue Jays do. If the Cubs are going to move Garza for young pitching, Toronto is a great place to look.