With Ryan Dempster practically forcing the Chicago Cubs to only negotiate with one team for a trade, thereby eliminating any leverage the team has to get the best deal, the smartest move for the team to make is putting Matt Garza out there for anyone to make an offer.
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
Garza would be a much more valuable asset for the Dodgers. He is 28 years old, seven years younger than Dempster, and is already under control through next season, so the Dodgers wouldn't have to worry about negotiating a new deal with him like they would Dempster.
For the Cubs, dealing Garza to the Dodgers for Lee would be a terrific move. As much as I like Garza's stuff, the performance rarely matches the talent. Last year was the best season of his career, and it showed in every statistical measure.
This year, Garza has reverted back to his old self. His ERA is a decent 3.91, but his FIP is 4.14 despite having a BABIP of .271 this season compared to .306 last year. It doesn't help that his home run rate (1.30) has more than doubled from where it was in 2011 (0.64).
With that in mind, the Cubs would be best served moving Garza for Lee, who is not a top-tier pitching prospect but is starting to come into his own as a pitcher and recently moved up to Double A.
The Cubs need to maximize all of their valuable assets who won't be around when the next wave of success comes to Wrigley. With the new regime just starting to implement their plan, it is going to be awhile before this franchise is a serious postseason contender.
Holding onto Garza and Dempster is not a viable option. They have the luxury of being able to hang on to Garza until the offseason before dealing him, but if they can get the Dodgers to bite on a deal that includes Lee, they would foolish not to make it.