Sunday Start-Up: Garza, Cespedes, Compensation


This Sunday is no ordinary Sunday. This Sunday is what most sports fans around the world call Super Bowl Sunday. In addition to marking the end of the National Football League season, this Sunday also has an underlying meaning. While nothing is official, many baseball fans look at the end of the Super Bowl as the unofficial start of the Major League Baseball season. While pitchers and catchers do not start reporting to Spring Training until another week, this Sunday usually marks when the national media turns their attention from football to baseball. Before we dive back into the baseball world, seeing it is Super Bowl Sunday, I feel obliged to give you my prediction for the big game tonight. The victor of  Super Bowl 46 will be the New England Patriots.

All you baseball purists can open your eyes again, the rest of the article will be focused on baseball. Saturday brought with it another tidbit to the Matt Garza trade rumors, along with an update on Yoenis Cespedes and the Theo Epstein compensation issue.

  • Yesterday, the belief was the Cubs would still take offers for starting pitcher Matt Garza as the team headed into Spring Training. That is likely still going to be the case. That news brought with it an interesting comment from a Cubbies Crib reader. The reader commented that the Cubs never admitted that they were shopping Garza, just that they would trade him if the right offer came along. While that is true, it is also wrong. When a team publicly admits that they would listen to offers for one of their players, that in a sense, is the team acknowledging that they are shopping the aforementioned player. When President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein tells reporters that he would listen to offers on Garza, in his mind, he is aware of what he is doing. By saying that, Epstein knows teams like the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, and Texas Rangers would come calling to the Cubs. Therefore, Epstein does not necessarily have to “shop” Garza with teams already calling him. In addition, the Cubs are in a rebuilding project. While process seems to be accelerated due to brilliant moves that the Cubs’ front office have made this off-season, trading Garza would give the Cubs the opportunity to add three or four top prospects to the team’s farm system. That would be why Epstein is more interested in trading Garza than retaining the starting pitcher.
  • Now for the latest on the Garza trade rumors. Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports tweeted last night that the one executive believes the Cubs are more likely to trade Garza at the trade deadline rather than before opening day. Seeing that it is February and Garza is still a member of the Cubs’ organization, it may benefit the team to retain the starting pitcher through the first half of the season. The Major League Baseball season is unpredictable. The Cubs could surprise us all and be in the middle of the National League Central race this season, thus, meaning the team likely will not be interested in moving Garza. But, that does not appear to be a likely scenario. Rather if Garza continues to pitch well for the Cubs in 2012, I assure you there will be a team around the trade deadline that needs a starting pitcher that will come calling.
  • Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago offered updates on Saturday during his morning radio show “Talking Baseball” on Yoenis Cespedes and the Theo Epstein compensation. Levine reported that Cespedes will likely sign with a team within the next 7 to 10 days. Levine notes that the Miami media are already talking about Cespedes as if he is a member of the Marlins’ organization. Meanwhile, Levine mentioned that the Cubs’ front office all doing everything possible to make sure that Cespedes signs with the Cubs. The Cubs and Marlins appear to be in a bidding war for Cespedes, and with the Cuban sensation not too thrilled with the idea of playing in Miami, the Cubs may silently be the favorites to sign him.
  • Levine also mentioned that Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig will settle the Theo Epstein compensation at some point this week. No one really knows what type of player Selig will reward to the Red Sox but Chris Carpenter, Darwin Barney, and Josh Vitters all seem to be among the top candidates to be headed to the Red Sox.