Forget the actual names of the prospects and look closer at the value that a "rumored" Garza trade is garnishing and you see why Epstein was referred to Rickett's by his fellow colleagues. First I say colleagues in that even though they are franchise competitors, the product is MLB and for practically every other franchise a strong Cubs product makes for a good financial benefit in their own franchise. Now Epstein has created a competitive market for Garza coming after the splash of (and high risk) that the Japanese import, Darvish and the Oakland A's fire sale of Gonzalez, (where the Nat's gave up three of an organization's top ten prospects) and the Reds overpaying for Mat Latos (Cincinnati gave up 1B Alonso, catcher Grandel along with starting pitcher Volquez), all prefaced and the FA signings of CJ Wilson and Mark Buerhle . In all these cases a market value has been set, where TOR FA pitchers ( All Star, but not HOF ACE's) are getting between $14-16M or young, under control potential TOR pitchers are garnishing 1/3 of your top prospects.
So now we have a reported short list of interested teams who would like to fit in a TOR pitcher who has 2 years of organizational (arbitration) control before his FA status kicks in; Boston, Detroit, Florida, New York, Toronto. The value of Garza is now being enhanced by the relative market competition and should be the cornerstone in the organization moving forward in their overall plan.Heyman of CBS points out the obvious that Epstein/Hoyer are seeking pitching so they eliminate Boston and Florida from the mix and says the Cubs are concentrating on New York, Detroit and Toronto. A clue to who is going to overpay with prospects might lie in who is more desperate to have a TOR pitcher. New York got to the playoffs last year but its rotation was a problem and this year will be no different behind Sabathia. So would the Yankees give up a cache like the Nationals did including a MLB ready starters like LHP Banuelos, RHP Betances or RHP Noesi plus more, like their catcher Montero. Of course a deal like this could be a part of a Whopper of all blockbusters where the Cubs offer to includes Soriano for Beckett (my bad for your bad with $$) and/or a Soto or Castillo to replace Montero. (All that is purely conjecture on my part but coincides with published reports regarding dumping Soriano and finding a catcher). The thing is Yankees are dealing from a position of strength in that they have three bona fide pitching prospects plus two who have MLB experience in Hughes and Nova and have more needs that anyone else like a RH DH and catcher, where the Cubs could reciprocate in all their needs. Wouldn't this stick it to the Boston owners and fans. And further what would it cost in compensation eventually. I think Cubs give up a (RHP) Jackson, or maybe a Clevenger, to Boston for Epstein if they can get a catcher like Montero.
Back to simply looking at Garza's value. The Tigers are in the mix where they want to bookend Verlander with a TOR starter and basically becoming the big favorite for the division crown in 2012. Their cost is possibly trading a 21 year old RHP who was in AAA, Turner. But what else can the Tigers offer? They have four other pitchers in the top prospects and a 3B that is interesting since the Cubs have a hole there if Vitters goes to the OF. This trade is simply within Garza's value as I see no Whopper, but players acquired could be packaged for a secondary deal with San Diego.
Finally there is Toronto which looks thinner in the prospect take although they too have four or five pitchers and other position players including a catcher who is considered their best hitter so their haul would be solid, possibly in the level of return that they Cubs paid to get Garza last year. But I think Epstein and Hoyer see Garza's value actually higher than last year even though he has one year less of arbitration. Garza is a player that could put a team over the top.
And there in lies Garza's value right now. He could bring three future bona fide MLB players who could be on the 25 man roster and starting in 2013 or 2014, maybe sooner. Thus I think Epstein and Hoyer are trying to pull a Whopper of a deal, one that includes moving a piece or two gained from a trade that is coveted by San Diego, an organization they know well, that in turn nets them Rizzo, plus also getting a starting TOR young pitcher to the Cubs even a long term position player prospect. This is all brought about because of developing and waiting for timing where now for teams looking to bring in a TOR pitcher there are few options out there, Oswalt? Kuroda? Garland? Duke? Webb? It is about timing and waiting for need to come to them. Actually looking at the two trades, I think Beane could have gotten more if he waited but couldn't, Padres showed a market where Garza is actually better so expect Cubs to get more than Washington or San Diego.