Matt Garza, or otherwise known as the top starting pitcher on the trade market, has been on top of his game over his last several starts. I would even go as far as saying he's been the best starter in the NL over his last 4 starts, posting a sub 1 ERA. The question everyone wants to know is where he will be traded, if he will be traded, and what to expect in return.
No doubt the Cubs want to sell high on Garza, because he has been showcasing his best stuff lately. It's been rumored that he would be out the door by now, but he's still a Cub. Teams like the Nationals, Rangers, Blue Jays, Indians, and Red Sox have been linked with Garza, all with varying levels of interest. The Cubs are asking a high price for Garza, and have even reportedly been talking extension (but we all know that's a trade market tactic). So it's pretty evident that Theo and Jed are not going to fold and take a lesser package of prospects in return Garza. They are going to patient and wait for the right deal, and I have a feeling that will take us up to the deadline.
The Reality and probably the only knock on Garza in the trade market is that he is a rental. That being said, he is also a battle tested, big game pitcher who could take the ball in the playoffs. He will be a free agent this offseason, and most likely the top starting pitcher on the free agent market, he won't be easy to resign. As we stand right now, all of the interested teams aren't willing to give the asking price for renting Garza for the remainder of the season. As we get closer to deadline and teams get more desprate for help, that may change. The ideal situation for the Cubs is a Zach Wheeler, referring to when a desperate Giants club sent the top pitching prospect to the mets to rent Carlos Beltran for the remainder of the season. Even looking back at last trade deadline the Brewers made a great deal, sending out Zack Grienke as a rental to the angels for Jean Segura, who has been a bright spot in a dull season in Milwaukee. Garza is no Grienke, but he is the closest thing to it this deadline. That's the ideal return for Garza, a top prospect. If a top pitching prospect was received Garza I would be more than thrilled.
More realistically, the Cubs should get at least two top ten prospects in return from any given system. The guy I would really like in return is Martin Perez from the Rangers, but he looks to be out of the trade picture. Next out of the teams interested, I like the Red Sox system. They have a fairly deep system that obviously our front office is firmiliar with. If we could get into the Red Sox system and Theo and Jed could bring back some of their own guys, like they did with Rizzo, I would be satisfied. Another guy I really like is Aaron Sanchez from Toronto, the Blue Jays defiantly would not want to trade him, but who knows if they're desprate. We could also see other teams jump into the picture over the next couple of weeks as well, there are still some teams that are probably undecided if they want to make deadline trades at this point.
In all likelyhood, Garza will be traded. The extension talks are going nowhere the remainder of the season and he is the best trade piece. If a deal doesn't happen, and he remains a Cub for all of 2013, I would rather see the Cubs extend him and pay the man rather than let him walk and collect the draft pick. In my opinion Garza is worth more than the compensation pick and if they can't trade him they should bring him back. He isn't an old man. I expect the Cubs to start competing 2015-2016 and I don't see why Garza couldn't be a good pitcher at that point. I've loved the guy since he became a Cub. Always energetic, cheering on team mates, always into the game even when he isn't playing, tweeting the W flag after every win, out on the front steps of the dugout giving high fives after a good play. So much to love about Garza, I'm gonna hate to see him go, and will cheer for him wherever he may land, but I'm excited for what the return may be.