Hendry Working Hard to Acquire Matt Garza?

The Matt Garza deal is not dead according to Bruce Levine and Jim Hendry is pursuing a starting pitcher … with Matt Garza at the top of the list. Garza has been the Cubs main target with Brandon Webb apparently being ‘Plan B’. Hendry is working hard to try to obtain Garza or another quality starter.

Could Jim Hendry be “kicking the tires” on Fausto Carmona?

Here’s the update, including more on Matt Garza and the Cubs pursuit of a starting pitcher. Plus, a partial list of attendees for the 26th Annual Cubs Convention, the search for Pat Hughes’ new partner and the latest from Bruce Levine …

Again, as of this writing the Cubs have not announced the corresponding roster move four days after signing Kerry Wood. The Cubs’ 40-man roster lists 41 players …

The Latest from Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat Tuesday on ESPN Chicago. Here are the highlights:

  • It is not an either-or with Brandon Webb and Matt Garza. The Cubs are not trying to sign Webb first then trade for Garza. The Cubs view Webb as a fallback option while “Garza is the guy they’re after.”
  • According to Levine, Jim Hendry is working hard over the holidays to obtain Garza or another quality starter.
  • Teams, such as the Rangers, are interested in Matt Garza and Levine would not be surprised if the Twins were interested in reacquiring Garza.
  • Levine is sure the Cubs will kick the tires on Fausto Carmona. Levine is hearing the Indians are asking for teams’ top two prospects in return.
  • The Cubs have prospects to trade for pitching … but not Brett Jackson and Chris Archer.
  • Of the two (Carmona and Garza), Matt Garza is “the more likely candidate to come to Chicago.”
  • From the way Levine understands it, Hak-Ju Lee is a player the Rays will insist on in a deal for Matt Garza … with Robinson Chirinos likely in the deal as well. Levine does not think the Rays would be interested in Josh Vitters. And he has not heard any other names.
  • Levine believes if a player is not being productive, Mike Quade will bench him. Levine doesn’t think Alfonso Soriano is guaranteed playing time, regardless of his salary.
  • The Cubs have a three-headed monster at second base right now … Blake DeWitt, Jeff Baker and Darwin Barney.
  • The Cubs, Rangers, Twins and Yankees are all “kicking the tires on available starting pitchers who can make an impact next year.” The Cubs do not have the money to sign Carl Pavano and all four teams are interested in the same guys … Fausto Carmona and Matt Garza. Levine is hearing it could “take a boat load of good, young talent to obtain either one.” The Cubs are going to be in it all the way.

Brandon Webb
Early reports Tuesday indicated Brandon Webb would decide on his new team before the end of the day. Reports suggested the Rangers are working on a one-year deal with Webb and he was expected to talk to Ron Washington and Mike Maddux.

The Cubs have apparently cooled on Webb, who the Cubs viewed as a fallback guy according to Bruce Levine.

According to a report from the Star-Telegram, Webb is looking for a one-year deal with a low base but loaded with incentives. The Rangers like to have an option year on a high-risk player but Webb has told teams he is looking for only a one-year contract.

According to the Star-Telegram, Brandon Webb wants to play for the Texas Rangers.

The Nationals are still in the mix for Brandon Webb … and a lot of that has to do with Webb’s relationship with Mike Rizzo, the Nationals’ GM.

According to a report Tuesday afternoon from Jerry Crasnick, “it is uncertain if Webb will decide on his new team by the weekend.”

Pat Hughes’ New Partner
WGN Radio announced the five-year contract extension with Pat Hughes on Monday … a day after, the speculation began on who will be his new partner.

According to a report from ESPN Chicago, several former Cubs’ are on the list to be the new color analyst.

Several people have contacted the Cubs looking to call games with Pat Hughes.

Rick Sutcliffe, Dave Otto, Keith Moreland, Randy Hundley and Rick Monday are among those in the mix. Monday currently calls games for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dave Otto pinch-hit for Ron Santo for years. Sutcliffe is currently under contract with ESPN.

According to Levine, the Cubs could decide to go another route and have Pat Hughes call the first three and last three innings with Judd Sirott calling the middle three innings … similar to how Bob Uecker has called Brewers’ games for years.

26th Annual Cubs Convention
The Cubs Convention is just around the corner (January 14 – January 16) and for the first time in several years, the Cubs are releasing details about the convention extremely early.

Aramis Ramirez was among the players listed as possible attendees and if Ramirez shows up it will be his first convention.

Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano, Marlon Byrd, Carlos Pena, Tyler Colvin and Starlin Castro are also expected to attend … with Chris Archer, Jay Jackson, D.J. LeMahieu and Chris Carpenter slated to take part in the weekend event and be on hand during Sunday’s Down on the Farm session.

Mike Quade will take part in a Q&A session with the fans in attendance.

Weekend passes for the Cubs Convention are still available on Cubs.com.

Miscellanous Notes
According to a report from Scout.com, Blake DeWitt is a candidate to leadoff for the Cubs in 2011.

Dave Kaplan is back on WGN Radio beginning Thursday night. WGN cancelled “Sports Central” last April but have decided to bring back Kaplan, among others, in a show titled “WGN Sports Night” with a similar, but different format.

On nights there is not a Blackhawks or Cubs games, the show will run from 7:00pm – 10:00pm CT and will included rotating co-hosts and many big name guests.

The show will also feature regular “insiders” such as Jim Hendry and Mike Quade.

Follow the CCO on Twitter

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

Quote of the Day

"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." - David Brinkley
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  • Jeremy

    My Brother-in-Law work for one of the other Major leagues in the
    scouting department. They view Hak Ju Lee as A future Elite Top of the
    order hitter and a future Gold glove SS. Brett Jackson will be a cheap
    mans verison of Sizemore.

  • Gary J.

    Aaron – I always find your posts well thought out and passionately argued… you’re obviously very knowledgeable when it comes to baseball in general and the Cubs in particular. You cite stats to support your position and scouting information – and just like everyone else pick and choose which stats you’re leaning upon :-)
    While I may not agree with you on every turn, I have to respect the way that you craft your arguments.
    However the comments like “…but true, knowledgeable, sane Cubs fans will…” or when speaking about how opposing viewpoints “…just do get it…” really turn me off. Just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean their opinions demonstrate a lack of touch with reality. They’re opinions. Just like aholes everyone’s got one :-)
    As for mine – I still have hope for this year and I do like the idea of trading for Garza.
    A healthy ARam (knock on wood) and a focused (a.k.a. sane) Zambrano pitching like he did at the end of the year would go a long way toward turning around last year’s start. Adding the stability of Wood along with the emergence of Marshall to the back end of the pen will prevent a disaster like last year where things were so bad with giving away games late that Lou felt that moving Z to the pen was worth a shot.
    Soriano is not be worth his contract – that’s a fact. But he’s also not a complete bum. Byrd, ARam, Fonzie, Soto, Pena – not a murderers row LOL – but it’s a solid 3-7 whatever order they hit. Someone emerges from the 2b by committee – whoever the third OF ends up being plays well, and Castro in the 2 hole…. IF (and that’s a capital I capital F) things fall right – the lineup isn’t Boston or NY – but it’s competitive in the NL.
    This team finished strong after Lou left – and as much as I love the guy, his tank was empty… and it had to have an effect on the clubhouse. They blew some games in the early stretch and never seemed to get any fight back.
    Now – Garza… you say check out Garza’s minor league stats to compare to the above guys… he was the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year in 2006 before getting his full time call up in June of 2007. none of our guys compare to that. The pitching coach of the Rays last year said he had the nastiest stuff of the entire staff. At 27, it’s time that he puts the talent and potential together with the head and gains some consistency. His ML stats have been better than average – solid number 2 numbers but not an ace…. but a change of scenery out of the AL East and the ace potential is there. However the longer it goes unrealized, the odds are that it’ll never happen. However even if it never happens, a guy with 3.8-ish ERA, 200 innings, 1.25 whip, 8 k/9…. that’s a solid ML pitcher that’s definitely worth a package of what baseball America rates as B and C level prospects.
    I say go add him as a solid innings eater that has been solid but with a load of still unrealized potential… throw him out there #3 behind Z and Demp with Cashner #4 and whoever sticks #5 (still crossing fingers for Webb personally)….
    I know I’m being optimistic. Very likely overly so. But I don’t see a reason that team above wouldn’t be competitive and couldn’t put together a good start and then who knows?

  • BD

    I’ve heard a lot of players names in trade rumors…it doesn’t make them good. I want nothing more than to see these prospects be the superstars that you think they will be, however history and commonsense tell me otherwise. If you can get a front of the rotation starter whose under team control for the next 2 years you do it! Especially with a rotation that is as mediocre as the cubs

  • Two_town2

    Garza?, comeon..,we need a 2nd baseman, and a CLOSER!!!!

  • bpot92

    Something interesting about the all star situation is in those years the team with the fewer all stars won the world series.

    2007-

    Redsox had Ramirez,Ortiz, Beckett, Okajima, Papelbon Lowell
    (Only Ortiz Beckett and Papelbon were through player votes.)
    Rockies had Fuentes and Holliday

    2006- Ws Teams

    Detroit had Rogers and Rodriguez

    St. Louis had Pujols, Ekstein,Carpenter, and Rolen (only pujols and carpenter were through player votes.)

    2005 Ws Teams
    White Sox had Buerhle, Garland, Podsednik, and Konerko ( only buerhle and garland were starters)

    Astros had Clemens, Oswalt, Lidge, and Ensberg ( ensberg was the only non starter)

    2004 Ws teams

    Red Sox- Ramirez, Schilling, Ortiz (only Ramirez and Schilling started)

    Cardinals had Pujols, Rolan, Renteria ( all started)

    So the point is that in all but two years, the team with the most all stars/ allstars voted in by the fans lost in the world series. It seems like to be successful you need one or two superstars with a lot of good payers that provide a well balanced team. The Giants are a perfect example of this with only two all starts this year but a deep and dominating starting pitchers, a solid bullpen with a dependable closer, and timely hitting with solid defense.

  • bobbybaseball

    Bruce Levine is wrong more than he’s right. I don’t believe the Garza thing for a second and I am pretty well plugged into the Cubs. My sources say the Rays aren’t even talking about Garza, saying only that if someone wants to blow them away they will listen. I’m guessing it would take Cashner, Archer, Hak Ju-Lee and Chris Carpenter and for the Cubs to do that when they are trying to focus on player development would be stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I like Garza but Levine puts this bs out there so that fans buy tickets.

  • LaughHammer

    I would like to see the Cubs deal Baker in any move they make for pitching. I really didn’t want to see the Cubs make a rumored move that had Aaron Rowand coming here in exchange for Kosuke Fukadome. I truly believe that Pinella moved Fuk around too darn much. Fuk needs to be allowed to settle in at #2 and then leave him alone. The only way Rowand made sense would’ve been to play right field on days that coach Quade thought Pena needed a break at first. Both Rowand and Colvin could spell Pena at 1st base. So Rowand coming here to fill the role of 4th outfielder would’ve been just fine. Beside Fuk can play right and center, therefore he can play when Marlon Byrd needs a day off. Byrd has shown that he shoudln’t play more than 120-130 games so he doesn’t wear down as September draws close. I would also like for the Cubs to see if one of the bigger spending teams would’ve given us something for Soriano. I would include Ramirez in that deal, but the Cubs hold an option on A-Ram at the end of the season so I expect big production in the form of more extra base hits, rbi’s and more effort with less errors at 3rd this season. Soriano on the other hand I believe would be as productive as his first year here if he’s allowed to lead off. Let’s see if Quade will put him back there this spring.

  • LaughHammer

    “The only trades Jimbo can make are the ones where a team is desperate to trade a guy for salary relief and does not mind getting back mid-level minor leaguers. (example: Choi for Derek Lee, Bobby Hill and others for Ramirez and Lofton, etc….)”

    Can I ask what is wrong with trading for players like Lee and Ramirez, and only giving up mid level talent in return? You say it like there is something wrong with it. I’d rather have him trade away some of the mid level talent, especially when there was a time that the Cubs couldn’t develope herpes let alone baseball talent. The Cubs sucked so much at developing talent that when it comes to making trades what makes you think Hendry or any of the scouts know good talent when they see it? At least by trading for established players they have a history written in the record books to look at. As far as Brian Roberts hows he doing today. Also at the time He Seop Choi was looking pretty promising, so if I could upgrade to Lee for Choi, I’d take it. Look at the stats of the players we traded for:

    In 2003 Pittsburgh plugged the Cubs’ gaping holes at third base (with Aramis Ramirez) and center field (with Kenny Lofton) for the low, low price of Jose Hernandez, Triple-A right hander Matt Bruback and a player to be named later. The Pirates also gave up a small amount of cash. When in the name of Zonk Moreland since Santo did the Cubs have a legitimate 3rd basemen?

    Aramiz Ramirez has averaged over 600 at bats a season, 171 hits, 36 doubles, 31 home runs, .282 batting average, OBP .340, SLG .499 and an OPS .839. In 2007 and 2008 playoffs he only managed to get a walk in 07, and a double and single in 08 if my memory serves me correctly. The year he got traded to the Cubs he had 4 home runs and 10 RBI in the playoffs when he batted .250. He batted around .185 or so average during the 07 & 08 playoffs when the Dodgers swept them out. I will say that I feel he really mailed it in this year, and he played like the year didn’t matter because he knew he could exercise his option to stay or go. He has an option year in 2012 also, but that is a club option and not a mutual one. So he is playing for money in 2011. He will probably return to form.

    Lofton came at a good time because the everyday Cub’s center fielder was Corey Patterson and he tore an anterior cruciate ligament. Lofton hit .327 with 13 doubles, 12 homeruns, and 30 RBI’s. Plus he stole 12 bases in less than 60 games for the Cubs. He also played tremendous defense. He was instrumental as a leadoff hitter, and did more to get the Cubs to within 1 out of the World Series than Corey Patterson ever could or would.

    Those 2 guys alone were one of “THE” reasons the Cubs got as far as they did. I can’t blame Bartman for the Cubs not making it, especially when we had Prior set to go the next game. I blame Dusty Baker for not calming down the team when Alou’s tirade started the to short circuit. Alou should’ve never acted the way he did over that Bartman incident. Alou never made those kind of hustle plays in that area his whole Cub career. Alou was brought here to be a mature leader and for the pop in his bat, not catching out of reach foul balls. It didn’t help that that idiot at short Gonzalez all of a sudden forgot how to play short stop also. Plus the entire team short circuited.

    I had no problem getting rid of mid level talent for Ramirez and Lofton. Look at what we got rid of.

    Matt Bruback has done what in the majors? Oh yeah, NOTHING! He never even sniffed a cup of coffee in the majors.

    Jose Hernandez after the trade was less than good with Pittsburgh. He put up better numbers the next year with the Dodgers hitting close to .290, with about 200-210 at bats with 12 or 13 HRs and 35-40 RBIs.

    Bobby Hill’s most games played with the Pirates were 126 in 2004 with 2 homeruns and 27 RBI’s. He had a .266 BA with only 233 at bats. He played 58 games with 11RBI’s and a 269 batting average in 2005 after being called up from the Indianapolis of the International League.

    The He Seop Choi for Derrek Lee trade worked out pretty darn well for the Cubs as well.

    He Seop Choi wasn’t really giving away mid level talent at the time. We would’ve never known that he would pretty much choked after he was traded to the Marlins and onto where he finished with the Dodgers, In his final 3 years playing major league ball in America he had around 160 hits, 30-35 doubles, I think 3 triples and averaged 10 home runs a season with about a .235-.240 batting average in the 3 he played after being a Cub.

    The Cubs took a boat load of heat when they signed Lee to a 5 year contract because he was over 30 years old. They got a lot out of Lee since he became a Cub. Lee left the team 11th in HRs. 26th all time in hits, 14th in doubles, 48th in triples, 22nd in RBI, 20th in BB, 11th IBB, 11th BA, 7th in OBP, 4th in SLG, and 3rd in OPS. His stats put him at a top 10 player in Cubs history knocking on the door of the top 5. The most impressive stat Lee has is that only 10 Cubs have been intentionally walked more than Derrek Lee. That’s especially impressive when you consider that Aramis Ramirez has batted right behind him his entire career with the Cubs.
    If you put Lee’s stats up against Cubs 1st basemen since 1900 Lee is 1st in HR’s, 3rd in RBI and doubles, 1st in SLG% and 2nd in OPS%. Lee’s combined stats make him the best 1st basemen to play for the Cubs in their entire history.
    In 2004 the Cubs made a trade that brought them Matt Murton and Nomar Garciaparra and it never panned out to be what was expected. To get them the Cubs dealt away Francis Beltran, Alex Gonzalez, Brendan Harris from the big club to the Montreal Expos, and Justin Jones from the minors to the Twins. That was a 4 team trade that really did nothing for the Cubs. They gave up practically nothing to get Nomar and I believe the Red Sox knew he was physically damaged goods. Murton was a serviceable outfielder who ran hot and cold. So the Cubs gave up 4 players in hopes of having the Nomar of old, not the Nomar of the DL. In retrospect this trade turned out being a Billy Preston song. “Nothing from Nothing.”
    The Cubs also dumped Bubble Head Sosa on Baltimore which gave us Jerry Hairston and Mike Fontenot. Hairston didn’t stay long. Andy McPhail received Corky Sosa, and we got a little bit out of Hairston. Fontenot stuck around for 5 years. He was able to reconnect to his college double play team mate Theriot for 5 years and was nothing more than serviceable as an infielder for the Cubs. We also received Dave Crouthers who never got out of the minors. Sosa himself was out of baseball by 2008. Mike Fontenot had in 200 243 AB with 9 HR’s and 40 RBI with a .305 BA. The next year he had 419 plate appearances which was 176 more at bats than the year before and he hit 9 HRs and 43 RBI but he dropped to a .236 batting average. He averaged 40 runs for those to seasons, and he also had 22 doubles in the 2008 and 2009 seasons. I was happy for this trade because although Sosa made for great theater with his homerun chase alongside McGuire, it was the theatrics that I despised because all of a sudden the idiots in the seats at the game didn’t care if the Cubs won, if Sammy hit a homerun or two Cubdumb was happy that they were there to see it. They didn’t care about wins and losses. The majority of those nimrods who sit in the bleachers today only want to get drunk, chant Fuk-A-Do-Me and hopefully sing Go Cubs Go.
    So I don’t understand why you say that the Cubs trade away mid level talent like it’s a bad thing.

  • LaughHammer

    If we trade Lee for starting pitching during a year when we have no real shot at com……….

    You do know Lee was traded to the Atlanta Braves last season right?

  • LaughHammer

    The only positive that I can take away from the Quade hiring is that; I believe this year will be a year where as Cub fans we’re in a holding pattern. This will be a year where we will see the best are farm clubs have to offer. The year will evaluate whether we have talent down on the farm that can play in the bigs. Since we will probably see a turnstyle of farm kids coming up to the big club, the best person to manage them is Quade because he knows them. He has been with a lot of these guys when they were drafted. Quade isn’t too many years removed from being in the Cubs minor leagues. Quade makes sense for the short term. The 2010 season was about seeing if the team as constituted with Pinella as mamnager could get to the playoffs and catch lightning in a bottle. Rickets could also evaluate everything from facilities – Ronnie Woo Woo. Rickets now has a plan for making the ballpark better, and growing revenue streams, now he is going to use this year to look at the players. I think whether Lou took the team to the playoffs or not, this was going to be a blow off year as far as playoffs go. Had Lou gotten this team to the World Series in 2010 Lou might’ve gotten 2 more years of employment out of Rickets. This year will help the team get through the crappy contracts of Zambrano, Soriano, and Ramirez. The best we can hope for on that front is that all 3 play well and they’re in demand before the trade deadline. Especially if we can hold onto them until teams are depserate enough to really dump prospects or young major league ready players in trade. If Quade does well and proves himself worthy of being the skipper going forward great, if not no harm no foul, thank you Mike Quade you’ve been dismissed. As a Cubs fan I’m looking at 2011 to see the farm kids come up and play hoping that in 2012 it’s out with Jim Hendry and in with his understudy Greg Maddux.

  • HeyzeeThrillz

    go cubbies