Cubs Close To Acquiring Matt Garza? (UPDATED)

The Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays appear to be closing in on deal that will send right handed starting pitcher Matt Garza to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for three prospects. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times was the first to report that a deal is close between the two teams.

According to Wittenmyer the Cubs have leapfrogged the Texas Rangers for the favorites to land Garza, and as of last night the Cubs and the Rays are close on a deal. The Rangers are no longer interested in Garza due to their recent signing of Adrian Beltre, and the pursuit of Rafael Soriano.

As we have stated numerous times on Cubbies Crib, adding Garza would put the Cubs right back into contention for the National League Central crown. Garza would give the Cubs a rotation that features Ryan Dempster, Garza, and Carlos Zambrano as the top three pitchers. Then Randy Wells would probably be the fourth starters, followed by either Jeff Samardzija, Andrew Cashner, or Casey Coleman as the fifth starter.

David Kaplan essentially confirms the report by Wittenmyer, when he tweeted that a deal is “seriously being discussed” and includes three top prospects from the Chicago Cubs. More than likely two of those prospects will be shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, and Catcher Robinson Chirinos. Those two players that the Rays have liked throughout all their conversations with the Cubs. As for the third prospect, I would imagine that it is a pitching prospect. The only pitching prospects that are untouchable are Chris Archer, and Andrew Cashner. Meaning Jay Jackson, Trey McNutt, and Chris Carpenter are all candidates to be the third prospect going to Tampa Bay.

In the report, Wittenmyer mentions that the Garza deal would create another deal for the Chicago Cubs. As with the addition of Garza, the Cubs would have a wealth of starting pitchers. Signaling that the Cubs will probably intensify trade discussion regarding pitcher Tom Gorzelanny. There also is Carlos Silva, who the Cubs view as a non entity for the 2011 season, and the Cubs may look to release him during spring training.

Acquiring Garza would be a very good move for the Chicago Cubs. He is expected to make around $6 million this year after he goes through arbitration. Garza is also under team control through the 2013 season. Garza would put the Cubs back into contention for a postseason spot. Because any time you have a rotation that features Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, and Carlos Zambrano the chances are good that you will be in contention for the entire season.

We will have more on the Garza deal as more information becomes available.


No deal between the Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays involving pitcher Matt Garza is believed to be close. The Cubs remain interested in Garza, but have begun looking at other teams for their Starting Pitching needs. The Rays appear to be inclined to hold onto Garza until July of the coming season.

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Tags: Adrian Beltre Andrew Cashner Carlos Silva Carlos Zambrano Casey Coleman Chicago Cubs Chris Archer Chris Carpenter Hak Ju Lee Jay Jackson Jeff Samardzija Matt Garza Rafael Soriano Randy Wells Robinson Chirinos Ryan Dempster Tampa Bay Rays Texas Rangers Tom Gorzelanny Trey McNutt

  • Luke Blaize

    Could be a false alarm. ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that there is nothing imminent, and he seems to think that the Rays are more likely to keep Garza through July and trade him near the deadline (which does make a lot of sense).

  • tex

    Hopefully we will have something to talk about soon! This has been such a quiet offseason and with the Cubs presently at the bottom half of the division, I would like to see something that might give me a little hope:) You win with pitching and as Jordan mentioned….Zambrano, Garza and Dempster could be a very good top 3! If it means Chirinos,Lee and Jay Jackson…I would do it! The Cubs are trading prospects from an area of strength…catching,middle infield and pitching. This will not deplete the farm system and they will add a top or the rotation starter for 3 more years!!!

  • Brad Z

    I don’t think the Rays want to pay $3 million for a half year’s worth of Garza (assuming arbitration bumps him up to $6 million)… not to mention, risking the chance of getting less talent in return. They are obviously very high on what the Cubs are offering.

    My question though, is why would you look to trade Gorzelanny? Wouldn’t he be an ideal 5th, especially considering his salary? Yeah, get rid of Silva if you can… we’re paying him approx $7 million of his bloated salary? Gorzelanny won’t make more than $1.5 even if arbitration is kind to him. And if the third prospect is one of the pitchers we expect to compete for the 5th spot, you need Gorzelanny to keep depth in the rotation. I’d like to have six potential starters going into the season… if all works out well, you can trade Gorzelanny to a contender at the trade deadline.

    • Luke Blaize

      The Rays only have two or three teams looking at Garza right now. That could go up by July. Just in the NL Central, I can see both the Cards and Reds hopping in the Garza derby if they are in a fight for the top spot with the Brewers and think they need one more arm. Demand will drive up the price, so Tampa may gamble on that and hold him for a few months. It is a gamble, but not that bad of one.

      Without Garza and not counting Silva, the Cubs go into spring training with four likely starters (Zambrano, Dempster, Wells, Coleman) and at least five guys (Cashner, Carpenter, Archer, Jackson, and Gorzelanny) fighting for the fifth spot. Or we can put Coleman in the air and say six guys are fighting for the last two spots. I could easily add two or three more names to that list, and remember, that doesn’t include Silva. The Cubs are so deep in major league ready or nearly ready starting pitching that pitching depth… of any kind… is really the last of their concerns.

      That also means Hendry can be stingy. Garza would slot into a position of strength for the Cubs, so there is no need to over pay for him. Hard telling what pitchers might become available at the trade deadline. Prospects not spent on Garza today could land a Cliff Lee or Roy Halliday type pitcher in a few months. The Cubs have the depth to be patient. With or without Garza, the Cubs are going to have a ton of high quality pitching heading into 2011 with another shot coming in 2012.

      • Brad Z

        But $6+ million isn’t a light salary… a good value for a pitcher like Garza, but the Reds can’t afford to add that without clearing room. Nor can the Cardinals unless they have already re-signed Pujols and know exactly what their payroll looks like.

        And I like the depth of major-league ready (or almost ready) talent, but I want 5 starters with proven major league experience (Demp, Z, Garza, Wells, Gorzelanny) and allow the inexperienced talent be the stop gaps that can fill a void if something happens. Otherwise, I don’t think you can see the Cubs are legitimate contenders for the postseason.

        • Luke Blaize

          That would be where I see 2011 differently. I’m not looking at the postseason until 2012. I think the focus in 2011 needs to be getting their top talent (pitching and outfield in particular) some experience. The Cubs might compete for the wild card, but I’d be happy with a .500 season.

          Basically, I’m willing to use 2011 to reload so the Cubs can win the division 2012 – 2020 or so. As a result, I’d rather use 2011 to give Archer, Carpenter, Cashner, Coleman, Jackson, and maybe a few others as many innings as possible. Some of those guys will be key to the rest of the decade, and now’s the time to find out who.

  • Darrell Birkey

    “There also is Carlos Silva, who the Cubs view as a non entity for the 2011 season, and the Cubs may look to release him during spring training.”

    The Cubs see him as a non entity or you do?

  • tex

    Buster Olney tweeted this morning that those rumors are false and Tampa won’t look to deal Garza till July. The drama continues…..

  • joehan

    I am really curious to see how hard Hendry is trying to make this deal happen before the 14th. As many of you may be aware, the Cubs Convention kicks off on the 14th, and compared to years past, it appears the Convention pass sales are down for 2011. The return of fan favorite Kerry Wood has not been enough to boost demand. Maybe Hendry is pushing for this “splash” deal to create some buzz by next week?

  • Ashley

    Don’t get me wrong I would love as much as any Cubs fan to get Garza and all of a sudden be a possible contender. I just don’t like giving up a minor league pitcher who could someday be Matt Garza in the big leagues and I def do not wnat to give up Lee this guy has so much upside. Someone on this blog wrote that the Cubs have the most major league ready guys of any team according to scout so why do we need to trade them away. I say keep your prospect and build for the future but I can see why the Cubs feel they need to make a big splash. This Cubs fan just thinks they don’t need to do it just yet.

    • joehan

      Thats pretty much how I feel too. I would love to win right away, but given the current roster and the budget constraints, it would be a tough task for 2011.

      As a life long fan, I would be ok with the growing pains of going young assuming the organization honestly went all in on it and invested in that philosophy, because that route would definitely not produce overnight success, no matter how highly regarded our current farm system is.

      I think the concern on the other side of the fence, at least for fans, is that in the past our prospects were over hyped under the Hendry regime. The worry is that we hang onto all these prospects, miss out on trading them for proven players like Garza, and then not having the prospects reach their potential.

      I understand the points of both arguements. But it’ll be up to the current front office to figure out how they will proceed.

  • Brad Z

    Yeah, I agree… although if they acquire Garza (which doesn’t look so likely now) then I think they could contend. And I think it would be a clear signal that they intend to be contenders.

    I personally would have liked them to save the money they spent on Pena and let Colvin play first (knowing he would eventually be in the outfield) just to get him 500 at bats. And try to unload Silva (and possibly Big Z if the deal was right) to let those young starters get plenty of innings. No offense to Quade, but I thought they should have given Sandberg the job too… strictly because he’s been coaching these young guys for the last 3 years and would get the most out of them. 2012 might have been a stretch, but I think they could have determined which prospects are their bread and butter and know how they would need to fill in the gaps to be contenders in 2013.

  • cheryl

    How much of a say does Quade have in all this? Yes, the Cubs are loaded with pitching talent, but will Quade give the youngsters a good shot. He’s mentioned Soriano won’t lead off and that’s about it. Has he indicated a take on any of the pitchers. Right now I’d like to see the young guns battle it out and leave Garza out of the equation.

    • joehan

      In my opinion, Quade probably doesn’t have much control over this. I’m sure Hendry would listen to his opinions, but part of me believes that Quade was also hired over Sandberg because Quade at the moment lacks the “big name” aura.

      A part of me thinks Hendry was not happy with Lou’s demands for roster moves (ie a lefty bat signing that resulted in the Milton Bradley mistake) through the media.

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  • tex

    MLB Trade Rumors is reporting that Hendry is still working feverishly to aquire Garza. Latest has Hendry offering Archer, Hak Ju Lee, Brandon Guyer and Chirinos for Garza and maybe something else back. That is a lot to give up but I think Hendry feels he needs to do something.

    • cheryl

      Wow! If he’s offering that much it seems like he’s going overboard. Would he normally do this if there wasn’t so much attention being paid to it by the media? I doubt it. Any word on who the other person mibht be besides Garza involved in this rumor?

    • Luke Blaize

      Lee, Archer, Chirinos, and Guyer for Garza would be on the short list for worst trade in the past 10 years. I don’t see it.

      Bruce Levine is reporting it could be as large as an 8 player deal, so add three players coming back to the Cubs with Garza. I would expect one of them to be a top Tampa prospect, and wouldn’t be surprised if one of them is a first baseman or lead off hitter. A very high potential pitcher in the low minors is also a possibility.

      Bottom line, we won’t know until the entire deal gets leaked or announced, but there is no way I can see Hendry sending those four for JUST Garza.

      Another possibility is that Hendry and Tampa have agreed on those four as the list from which Tampa can select who they want in exchange for Garza, and that only part of the story got to the press. Any two of those four wouldn’t surprise me.

  • Ashley

    Please if someone in the Cubs upper brass is reading this DO NOT DO THIS TRADE!! Not with Archer. Archer could be a future ace. Please don’t give him up for a guy that we really don’t need. Lets be like the Rays have been for years and build young talent and let them lead us. Archer has to be good if the Rays want him that bad. Please Jim don;t get rid if our number 1 prospect. 2011 is not worth that much.

  • tex

    Let’s remember that they are called prospects for a reason! Garza is a sure thing! Let’s see who we get back first before all the backlash! If the Cubs can fill 2 holes…Garza(a legit #2) and maybe a true leadoff hitter? The Cubs still have plenty of depth in their system. They could make more moves by trading some of their bottom of the rotation guys for serviceable parts!

    • Luke Blaize

      Last I saw, the Cubs have added Fuld to the deal, and are getting back a pitcher and an outfield from the Tampa system. I am officially intrigued.

      Tampa’s BA Top 10 list features 3 left handed pitching prospects. Could the Cubs be getting on of those and… maybe… dare we dream… Desmond Jennings?

  • tex

    Luke if we are trading 5 players. Our #1 #5 #10 and roughly #17 or so and a major league serviceable role player in Sam Fuld…I would like to think Desmond Jennings could be included? We could only hope! Maybe TB would be willing to include Tim Beckham as well since they are getting Lee. Beckham has not produced thus far but he is still only 20 and was the former #1 pick in the draft.

  • tex

    Bruce Levine is reporting the teams have agreed on the trade. Archer,Lee,Guyer,Chirinos,Fuld for Garza a minor league pitcher and minor league outfielder. Let’s see who the pitcher and outfielder are who we get back.

  • Dan-0-mite

    The number may appear large but they are people the cub’s don’t really need. Like Tex said Garza is a sure thing and the others are prospects. The Cubs have plenty of catchers so goodbye Chirinos, Fuld will never bee fully major league ready, the only bad thing is Chris archer. But, they are getting a young ace now for a maybe ace of tomorrow. Also, Castro is going nowhere so they feel Hak ju lee in dispensable.

  • tex

    They are reporting the outfielder the Cubs are getting is Fernando Perez. Not who I was hoping. I hope they at least get one of the Rays better pitching prospects.

  • joehan

    You guys beat me to the punch. I have put up a post on this latest news. Look forward to hearing your thoughts over there as well as more info comes out.

  • Ashley

    Does this trade now make Wells and Gorz despendalble? If so when and where could they be traded? Be nice to get some prospects for them.