It’s that time of year. The All-Star break is just around the corner and the trade talks are starting to heat up. We now sit less than a month away from the MLB trade deadline and, as the date draws closer, the rumors are beginning to pick up steam.
The Chicago Cubs are one of the few teams, according to reports, that are already 100 percent sure to be in sell-mode, and are apparently willing to listen to offers on multiple players.
One of those players, Matt Garza, has already been talked about ad nauseum, both by myself and media outlets across the country. Every time the rumors on Garza ramp up, they seem to cool right back off as quickly as they started.
This time, though, there may be a bit more tread on the proverbial tires. According to a report featured on www.mlbtraderumors.com, the Blue Jays, Indians, Reds, Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Cardinals all scouted Garza’s start on July 5. Add to that a July 6 report from the same website that the Tigers have begun discussions regarding Garza and a July 3 report that the Yankees are doing the same, and you start to get the picture.
Garza, by virtue of both age and health, is far and away the best starter available during this year’s deadline, and it appears that the Cubs are fully aware of that, as reports state that the Cubs’ asking price for the 28-year-old starter is “steep.”
Looking at the list of teams above, I tend to believe that the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees, Tigers and Diamondbacks are the most likely contenders for the right-hander. Personally, I just don’t see Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer agreeing to send an exceedingly talented pitcher to a division rival, which puts the kibosh on both St. Louis and Cincinnati. That is, of course, unless the Cubs’ front office duo can convince one of the two division-rival teams on the list to grossly over-pay.
Luckily, that might just happen, though I’m still don’t believe it will be from a division rival. For one of the very few times in my lifetime, the Cubs actually have the upper hand in negotiations with other teams. The Cubs hold in their hands the most valuable trade chip on the market, and with so many different teams involved – many of them with a wealth of either money, or prospects, or both – there’s no telling how high the price for Garza might go.
Of course that’s not a guarantee, but there’s a better chance than we’ve seen in a while of the Cubs acting like intelligent economists, selling high, and receiving a significant profit in the process.
And, if that does, happen, who will the get in return?
Based on what’s out there about the Cubs’ steep asking price, I’d have to assume that Epstein and Hoyer are requesting either top-of-the-line prospects or major-league-ready talent that have an All-Star-caliber ceiling.
Assumedly, the Cubs would be looking to improve on a position of weakness. Immediately, the catcher’s position comes to mine, which would have brought me to Jesus Montero. Unfortunately, as an astute reader pointed out, Montero was traded over the offseason, leaving the Yankees with abysmal production from the catcher’s slot and one less very valuable trade chip.
That said, the Yankees farm system is still alright – ranked somewhere in the middle of the league by most. So possibilities are still there. The Diamondbacks, though less wealthy than the Yankees, are another good option, considering their farm system has been ranked in the top-10 in the league and they have a wealth of talented young arms in their minor league system.
As always, we’ll just have to wait and see…
Follow me on Twitter @MidayJME