If He Goes It Will Be Trouble, If He Stays It Will Be Double
The Cubs created something of a furor, as much as they can anyway, by stating today that they are considering signing Matt Garza to an extension instead of trading him to whatever contender antes up in the next couple weeks. This is pretty standard stuff, meant to drive up the price on Garza by making it seem like the Cubs don’t have to deal him. It also might be to shake out who is serious about bidding for him and who is just playing defense.
Or is it? Because there are a couple strands that might suggest it’s more than smoke, however unlikely. One, the rumored packages that have been offered don’t exactly cause anyone to change their boxers or whatever underwear you might wear. A-list prospects have not been on them, but a bunch of B and B- ones. That’s not enough for what is the best pitcher on the market.
Perhaps EpStoyer feels that if they can’t get a pitcher who is ready to be in the majors next year to replace Garza, then maybe it’s not worth it. While the system is producing more and more prospects, most if not all of the ones they’re excited about are position players. The Cubs don’t have an ace or even a #2 in waiting, at least not for years. After what they paid for Edwin Jackson, merely a guy who will take the ball, they figure the price to get anyone to replace Garza next year outside the organization isn’t all that far away from what they’d have to pay Garza anyway.
Second, maybe those contract talks are also Jeff Samardzija insurance. As we know, Shark has already turned down a five-year deal last winter and may be looking for huge bucks. Would he get more than Garza? Unlikely, he only has two years of being a starter and Garza has far more. But if Shark is being unreasonable and maybe just wants out anyway?
In the end, the Cubs will deal Garza and they’ll get a decent haul for him. Or they should. But with Epstein and Hoyer, nothing is ever off the table. They won’t deal him just to deal him. At some point, some contender will break and give up a jewel. Especially if Garza throws up one or two more glittering starts.