Off Again, On Again: Matt Garza

According to Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald, his sources have confirmed that the trade rumor for Matt Garza has regained momentum again. I know many of you are thinking “here we go again”, but the fact that the prospect names have been decided upon leads me to believe that talks have heated up or are closer than first reported merely 48 hours ago. The rumored names going to the Rays for Garza are top ranked Cubs overall prospect (according to Baseball America) Chris Archer, #4 ranked and top SS prospect Hak Ju Lee, potential future leadoff hitter and #10 prospect Brandon Guyer, and catching prospect Robinson Chirinos.

Lee and Chirinos are two names we have heard earlier this offseason when the Garza rumors first broke out. Now that an “official” package offer seems to be in place, what do you guys think? As for my thoughts?

Garza would definitely be a top of the rotation starter for the Cubs under team control through the 2013 season. He is a proven player at the MLB level who has posted great numbers considering he has been pitching against the vaunted AL East, as well as having postseason experience. So going up against the best of what the Reds, Cardinals, and Brewers will throw against the Cubs will not be any worse than what he has already seen. Salary wise, even with an arbitration bump for 2011, he will look like a steal compared to what Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster will be earning over the next couple seasons. And assuming he continues to produce at the rate he has been the last two years, his first free agent contract (or extension if the Cubs choose to go that route before 2013) figures to be in between of what Big Z and Dempster are earning on their current deals. At least one of the current Cubs pitchers’ deals (Dempster) if not both will be off the books by 2013, and the Cubs could very easily allocate those funds on keeping Garza in Cubs pinstripes for 2014 and beyond.

However, many of you have expressed concerns for dealing away multiple top prospects who could very easily fill all of the Cubs roster holes on their own by 2012 and beyond. Thanks to the work our Minor League Writer Luke puts in here at Cubbies Crib, we are all a little more familiar with just what kind of talent the Cubs are potentially dealing away. We all can agree that to get quality you have to give quality. Hendry also has a good track record of dealing touted Cubs prospects for solid veterans. Hee Seop Choi for Derrek Lee. Bobby Hill in the package deal for Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton. As Miles mentions in his blog piece, the only deal that blew up in Hendry’s face was the deal for Juan Pierre which sent three young pitchers to the Marlins, the most notable being Ricky Nolasco.

Many of you are familiar with my stance on this rumored trade since we first heard of it. I have been torn between trying to win now, which the Garza deal would support, or waiting for two years to see if all the prospects can fill out a deep line up and rotation at Wrigley Field. I was especially hesitant on leaning one way or the other on this rumored deal without knowing the exact names.

Even though this isn’t officially part of my “WWJD?” series, I would have to stamp a veto on this proposed deal. I have already admitted that we need to trade quality to get quality, but this rumored package is a little too expensive for my taste. As much as I like Lee, I was resigned to the fact that he and one of the catching prospects would be part of the deal. Using the Brewers deal for Zack Greinke as a measuring stick, I also figured the Cubs would have to include an OF prospect. Considering Tyler Colvin is a developing power OF, I would rather see Brett Jackson included over Guyer, as Guyer projects to be more of a leadoff hitter. The last part in the package being a top rated pitching prospect is also assumed, but I hesitate to send the #1 rated pitcher (Archer) on top of the quality we have already discussed moments ago. If the Rays want Archer, I want them to take slightly lesser rated prospects from the IF and OF prospect depth chart.

As I mentioned in a comment on Jordan’s post about the latest news on this rumor the other day, I believe Hendry is working to make a headline grabbing move in plenty of time to boost Cubs Convention pass sales that have sagged, as well as having that feel good hype going into Spring Training. I have also mentioned repeatedly that Hendry may be viewing his time as Cubs GM as very limited unless he can squeeze out a playoff season before his own contract is up. It is this desperation “mode” that worries me, as his last couple desperation forced deals ended badly (see Bradley, Milton and Pierre, Juan).

Tags: Aramis Ramirez Baseball America Bobby Hill Brandon Guyer Brett Jackson Bruce Miles Carlos Zambrano Chris Archer Cubs Cubs Convention Daily Herald Derrek Lee Hak Ju Lee Hee Seop Choi Jim Hendry Juan Pierre Kenny Lofton Matt Garza Milton Bradley Ricky Nolasco Robinson Chirinos Ryan Dempster Spring Training Tyler Colvin Zack Greinke

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