Sunday afternoon, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman wrote this about Matt Garza likely being traded:
Cubs star right-hander Matt Garza, who separated himself as the top available starting pitcher with a string of impressive recent outings, has received notice that he will likely be traded after contract talks didn't produce an extension. Garza is drawing interest from the Rangers, Indians, Red Sox and Cardinals, among others.
"Received notice"? Not according to this:
On report that #Cubs informed Matt Garza he'll likely be dealt, he says: "I haven't heard anything like that"— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 15, 2013
Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago sums up the Garza watch this way:
The Cubs head into the All-Star break on "Garza Watch." They’ve created a window between now and July 22 to finalize a deal. That’s when the best pitcher on the trade market is scheduled to make his next start against the Arizona Diamondbacks. No one would be surprised if someone else is screaming into his glove at Chase Field that night.
Mooney includes the same quote tweeted by Carrie, names a few teams that would likely be interested, but gives no specifics.
Monday morning, this CSN Chicago article by David Kaplan makes it sound a bit more definitive:
Baseball sources confirmed to me early this morning that, after Matt Garza's start on Saturday when he beat the St. Louis Cardinals and looked strong doing it, several teams have decided they are willing to engage Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer in serious negotiations during this week's All Star Break, despite the fact that the price to acquire the talented starter is extremely high.
But wait. What does "willing to engage" mean, exactly? The sources quoted in Kaplan's article seem to be engaging in the same kind of speculation that everyone else is. For example:
"The Cubs would be wise to move Garza because this is a rare trading chip to have that can net you back a couple of key pieces who should be ready to help when the Cubs other young talent is getting to the big leagues. With four elite level prospects in Baez, Bryant, Soler and Almora they have a very bright future and I still think that they will move Castro at some point, which will bring back another good haul of young talent," an A.L. scout told me this morning. "Add in another significant draft pick next June and the Cubs finally have a foundation that they can build on for a lengthy run. However, their lack of pitching depth will force them to have to spend big in free agency to match up enough pitching with all of the positional talent that they are developing in a year or two."
This is all true. On the other hand, with Garza being the premier starting pitcher available on the trade market right now, the Cubs shouldn't move him just because they can. They should do so if and only if they get a good return. It appears clear they're asking for such a return, which is a good thing. The longer they wait, the more desperate an acquiring team might become.
There's something else to consider. A team isn't going to give a huge haul for a rental; only if an acquiring team thinks they can keep Garza and extend him might they feel it's worth it to send several top prospects, or even major-league ready talent, to the Cubs. Among teams currently looking for pitching, the only one that really fits that description is the Rangers.
So I could see that happening, a trade to Texas. This week? Maybe. It might be worth the Cubs' while to wait a little longer, too.