Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers “Down The Road” In Talks On Garza Trade


With the exception of new president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, the biggest player attraction at the upcoming Cubs’ Convention this weekend is expected to be starting pitcher Matt Garza. Despite Epstein admitting that the team was looking into trading Garza, the starting pitcher is still on tap to be in attendance for the Cubs’ Convention that starts on Friday.

The Garza rumors have been fast furious this off-season. Reports suggested that Garza would be dealt during the Winter Meetings, but nothing materialized between the Cubs and the rumored suitors for the 27 year old starting pitcher. The teams that have had discussions with the Cubs regarding Garza have been the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Miami Marlins, and New York Yankees. The Yankees and Blue Jays have since been taken off of the list of potential suitors.

By the time the Cubs’ Convention gets started in the Windy City on Friday, there is a good chance that Garza will be on his way to the Motor City.

Comcast Sportsnet Chicago’s David Kaplan is reporting that talks between the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers are “down the road” regarding a Matt Garza. The Tigers have long been considered as one of the front-runners to land Garza, and Kaplan’s reports would make it seem that the Tigers are indeed going to land the current ace of the Cubs’ rotation.

The Cubs’ front office have been searching for ways to improve the amount of pitching that is with the organization. That, in part, is why Cubs’ fans have seen the team acquire young, team-controlled starting pitchers in Travis Wood and Chris Volstad. But if the Tigers and Cubs do wind up finalizing the Garza trade, the pitchers the Cubs would receive for Garza would likely have a much higher ceiling than either Garza or Volstad. The one prospect who is expected to be a part of the Tigers’ package for Garza is Jacob Turner. Turner was the Tigers best pitching prospect heading into the 2011 season, and Baseball America ranked Turner #21 on their top 100 list. Scouts and talent evaluators alike are high on Turner and most project him as front-line starting pitcher. Prior to his Major League debut in July, Turner spent the 2011 season with the Tigers’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliate. Turner posted a record of 4-5 with an ERA of 3.44 to go along with 110 strikeouts and 35 walks on those two levels in 2011.

The other pitcher that has been mentioned as part of potential return package from the Tigers for Garza has been starting pitcher Rick Porcello. At this point it is unclear if Porcello would be included in the same package as Turner, or if the Cubs will get one or the other. The consensus is that Turner has more potential than Porcello. But, Porcello would still be good return piece for the Cubs if they do trade Garza. Porcello was drafted by the Tigers in the first round of the 2007 MLB amateur draft. Baseball American ranked Porcello 21 on their top 100 list in 2009 prior to the pitcher making his major league debut for the Tigers that season. Porcello pitched to a 14-9 record with the Tigers in his rookie season to go along with an ERA of 3.96. Porcello struggled in 2011, however, with a record of 14-9 but with an inflated ERA of 4.75. But following the pattern set by the Wood and Volstad acquisitions, Porcello’s xFIP in 2011 (4.02) was significantly better than his ERA. Porcello is only 23 years old and is under team control through the 2015 season.

Ideally, the Cubs’ front office should make sure that Turner is included in Detroit’s package for Garza. Turner is hands down the best prospect that has been rumored to be a part of any potential Garza trade, and may be the closest thing to a sure thing that the Cubs can find. If by chance both Porcello and Turner are included in the Tigers’ package, the Cubs will likely be sending a player from their 4o man roster along with Garza to Detroit.

The Cubs are reportedly close to signing free agent starting pitcher Paul Maholm. The move makes sense, especially if the Cubs are on the verge of trading Garza. Cubbies Crib will have more on Maholm once more details are released.