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Matt Garza Rumors; More Fiction Than Reality?


The Chicago Cubs have traded pitchers Andrew Cashner, Sean Marshall, and Carlos Zambrano this winter. While the trade of Cashner did land the team their first baseman of the future in the form of Anthony Rizzo there was has always been one larger piece that the team’s front office could move in order to completely renovate the organization’s pitching depth. That piece, of course, is starting pitcher Matt Garza. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein has been when discussing the team’s willingness to mull over trade offers for Garza. With Epstein making those revealing statements, there have been plenty of teams to register interest in the Cubs’ top starting pitcher.

The Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Miami Marlins all of the team that have expressed interest in Garza this winter. The early favorites for the Cubs’ starting pitcher were the Blue Jays and Tigers. The Blue Jays have since taken a back-seat in the Garza sweepstakes. Meanwhile as recent as this week, a report from David Kaplan suggested that the Cubs and Tigers were down the road on discussions about a trade that would send Garza to the Tigers. With seemingly no progress between the Cubs and Tigers this week, Kaplan has backed off his original report, instead saying the Cubs are still talking a Garza trade with multiple teams.

With the Cubs’ Convention–set to kick off on Friday–marking the unofficial start of the 2012 season for the Cubs’ organization, the time has come for the Cubs’ front office to make a final decision on Garza. The 28 year old starting pitcher’s trade value has never been higher, which is why the Tigers could be dangling their top pitching prospect in Jacob Turner as part of a package for Garza. But for whatever reason, neither Epstein nor Hoyer have a received a offer that satisfied them enough to trade Garza. With Garza entering the prime of his career, the pitcher could still be considered as long-term asset for the Cubs.

If the Cubs do not trade Garza, it is likely that the team will look to re-sign the starting pitcher. Up to this point in his career, Garza has been on the same level as Chicago White Sox starting pitcher John Danks. Danks signed a five year, $65 million extension with the White Sox. Danks’ extension with the White Sox, will likely be the starting point in the Cubs’ talks with Garza about an extension.

Epstein addressed the Garza rumors during a media session while on the Cubs’ caravan, the Cubs’ president admitted that the team is not shopping the starting pitcher; rather “weighing their options”.

"‘‘I can truly say more has happened in the media with this than has happened in reality,’’ said Epstein, who also says he has kept Garza’s agents ‘‘updated every step of the way’’ on would-be trade talks. ‘‘There’s no attempt to shop him. As we do with all our players, we’re going to weigh all our options to see what’s best for the Cubs.’’ Chicago Sun Times"

The last time Epstein had a similar response to a rumor, it was after he was asked about Prince Fielder. After the Cubs acquired Rizzo, it became clear that Epstein was telling the truth when he said Cubs’ interest in Fielder was more so the fault of the media rather than the team. It is likely that Epstein telling the truth again in regards to Garza. Though, it would seem that the national media types have been the ones to refresh the Garza rumor mill on a weekly basis. The local media–to their credit–have been very silent when it has come to reporting on the Garza rumors. Epstein also said that he is looking forward to seeing Garza take the mound for the Cubs’ this season.

The bottom-line all the parties involved may be starting to get frustrated. The Cubs’ front office must realize that the window to trade Garza this off-season may be closing quickly. The Blue Jays have taken themselves out of the Garza because of their unwillingness to part with top prospects, and there have been contradicting reports as to whether or not the Tigers are willing to include Turner in a package for Garza. Garza is without a doubt a pitcher that is worth an organization’s top pitching prospect, which is why Epstein and Hoyer are holding out on pulling the trigger on a Garza trade until such a return exists. Garza, meanwhile, has to be aware of the rumors. Garza has been more than open with his desire to remain with the Cubs, which is why the rumors may be starting to irritate the starting pitcher.

Epstein plans to have a conversation with Garza at some point during the Cubs’ Convention.