Cubs Could Deal Garza Soon, Interest in Samardzija and Other News and Rumors

There were scouts aplenty on hand in Milwaukee on Thursday afternoon to watch Matt Garza pitch. Most of them stayed over after watching Scott Feldman pitch on Wednesday night. According to reports, scouts from the Nationals, Dodgers, Orioles, Blue Jays and Phillies were on hand to watch Garza on Thursday. The Blue Jays have shown a lot of interest in Garza in the past.

George Ofman reported just prior to Thursday’s game, that if Garza pitched well against the Brewers he could be traded over the weekend. According to Ofman, the Rangers “really want him.” The Cubs and Rangers were very close on a deal last July that would have sent Garza to Texas for a package of prospects that was believed to include Mike Olt and Martin Perez.

Matt Garza appears to be a hot commodity, and his recent performances may have increased his value. Garza has allowed two runs on 15 hits with five walks and 23 strikeouts over his last three starts (22 innings, 0.81 ERA, 0.91 WHIP).

If the Cubs have decided to trade Garza, it would seem that sooner, rather than later would be better in order to maximize his value. Garza was recently labeled “a pennant-race-changing arm” and teams appear to be lining up to at least take a look and find out what it will cost them.

Matt Garza is used to the trade rumors and is not worried about them since he’s dealt with them throughout his career.

Both starters the Cubs appear to be shopping could end up battling each other down the stretch for a division title. All of the teams in the NL West are looking to upgrade their staffs and both Matt Garza and Scott Feldman have been connected to those teams.

Scott Feldman

Scouts from the Rangers, Giants, Nationals and Blue Jays were among the 12 teams on hand to watch Scott Feldman pitch on Wednesday night. Scott Feldman helped his stock on Wednesday night with another quality start and like Garza, his time with the Cubs appears to be coming to an end.

The Giants and Padres appear to be very interested in Feldman and would be a good fit for him. The Cubs appear to be talking to the Padres about both Feldman and Garza which makes sense due to Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod’s familiarity with San Diego’s system.

Kevin Gregg

According to a report from Mark Bowman, the Braves are one of many teams interested in trading for Kevin Gregg. The Braves are looking to bolster their pen and are expected to land at least one veteran reliever before the deadline. And there is a connection to Gregg and Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez from their days together in Miami.


Jeff Samardzija

Well it seems Kirk Gibson was impressed with Jeff Samardzija after all. According to a report from Ken Rosenthal, the Diamondbacks are interested in Jeff Samardzija. Rosenthal reported the two teams have not engaged in discussions and it is believed Samardzija could “only be had for an overwhelming package.”

Rosenthal correctly pointed out the Cubs view Samardzija as a cornerstone but they have not been able to sign him to an extension yet. The Cubs tried to lockup Samardzija last winter but Samardzija wanted to wait until he had a couple of years as a fulltime starter under his belt before signing a lont-term contract.

Rosenthal reported that Arizona is not the only team that would like to acquire Samardzija. The cost would figure to be prohibitive, according to Rosenthal, and teams know it would cost a ton to trade for Samardzija to the point the Cubs have not “received any hits” on him.

Alfonso Soriano

Jim Bowden thinks there is a 25 percent chance that the Cubs will trade Alfonso Soriano prior to the deadline. The Cubs are still willing to eat a majority of his remaining contract for the right prospect or prospects in return. Bowden thinks Soriano would be a fit for teams such as the Orioles, Giants, Yankees and Rangers.

News, Notes and More Rumors

The Cubs announced the signing of fourth-round draft pick, RHP Tyler Skulina on Thursday. The Cubs signed Skulina for $800,000 … $322,700 over-slot.

Jim Bowden thinks there is a 30 percent chance that the Cubs will trade Nate Schierholtz and he put the chances at around 40 percent the Cubs will deal David DeJesus before the deadline.

According to Peter Gammons, add the Red Sox to the list of teams looking to add a starting pitcher before the deadline.

Aramis Ramirez was shocked when he received a phone call from Carlos Marmol just after the Cubs cut him. Ramirez sees the move as a positive one for his good friend.

According to Buster Olney, the Yankees are talking to Ian Stewart about a minor league contract. Stewart is apparently garnering a lot of attention and is weighing his options according to Jon Heyman.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

  • Ripsnorter1

    Marmol will be picked up, and I think he’ll pitch well for somebody the rest of 2013.

    I just don’t see Soriano going anywhere. No matter how much the Cubs pay, he’s not hitting enough to warrant any kind of real prospect in return.

    I’d love to see Garza go to Texas. But Mike Olt, who will be 25 in August, is hitting .207 in AAA. Maybe we could trade Brett Jackson, who will be 25 in August and is hitting (.223), straight up for him.

    Martin Perez, 22, was tearing up AAA with a 1.75 ERA and 1.028 WHIP. He has 2 starts in the 2013 bigs, and his last one was vs. Cards and their potent offense: 7 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K.

    Maybe we could insist that Neil Cotts be thrown in the deal. His 0.44 ERA in 20 IP has been a real boost to the Texas pen.

    On a side note, our own Josh Vitters is hitting .270 with 3 HR in only 63 AB in AAA.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      The only deal I see happening for Soriano is the Yankees. With Tex down they’re desperate for power hitters. It could go down.

      • Ripsnorter1

        That would be so nice. The Yankee system is so very weak that they are recruiting our AAA cast offs to play on their ML team. What could we get out of them?

    • Sonate

      Agree Rip. Perez is intriguing, but Olt is not impressive given his performance and his age. How about trying to get Profar instead? (I know, it will never happen.)

    • John_CC

      What makes you think that Marmol will pitch well for another team? Do you think that being on the Cubs somehow made him a pitcher with terrible command prone to huge inning meltdowns?

  • raymondrobertkoenig

    I’ll never believe that the Cubs and Rangers were close to a deal last season. Those rumors only started well after Garza’s injury.

  • Gcheezpuff

    I think a deal with the rangers for Garza would start with Olt and Perez, but would probably include other pieces from both sides. cubs probably as a veteran OF and Rangers add some lower level arms.

    • gary3411

      I don’t thinkk Perez is even in the discussion anymore. Last year yeah, this year not a chance unless we add more value to the deal

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        I wouldn’t be surprised if Perez was involved. The Rangers are built to win now and their window is already closing. Garza would help them more currently than Perez.

        After seeing those stats Rip posted from the Cardinals game I’d almost take Perez straight up for Garza. If Olt was a throw in I’d have to really consider it.

        • daverj

          I think it would take Garza plus another piece (maybe Schierholtz) to land Perez.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            I’d do it. Perez could be a #1 for the next 10 years.

          • Ray Ray

            You are overvaluing Perez and way undervaluing Garza and Schierholtz. I have seen Martin Perez pitch live at Round Rock last year vs Iowa. He is good but he is not a #1 or even a #2. I do believe the Rangers would include him in a deal for Garza but that won’t be enough. Others would be included.

          • daverj

            I hope you say you are right and I am wrong about it. Unfortunately, given the injuries over the past year, I don’t think Garza is going to return as much as some think.

      • mutantbeast

        Strangers have 3 rookie starters right now. Lewis is not even a c ertain return for them this year. Frankly, if the Cubs sign Bryant than Olt is no longer a necessary commodity, so Id start with Perez and other spare parts. Maybe even go for the moon and say Profar.

        • Sonate

          YES! Do they want Garza or not? If so, make ‘em pay!

          • Ripsnorter1

            #1 Garza makes a ton now. Save some dough and deal him.

            #2 Garza will walk as soon as the year is done. Get something instead of losing it all.

            #3 IMO, he’s going to get hurt again. Trade him now before he pulls another job like last year, and you can’t trade him for anything.

            Olt isn’t much, imo. We’ve already got Vitters. Perez’s great value is that he doesn’t give up the big dingers. He keeps the ball in the park.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    If the right deal comes for Shark, I say you take it. He’s a good pitcher but I’m not sure about building a staff with him as our number 1 or 2. If we can get an organizations top pitching prospect, a top 20 in MLB type guy, I say we take it. Of course I’d also want a couple other prospects thrown in.

    That Perez and Olt deal for Garza wouldn’t be bad. I like Perez a lot. But at this point I would want more than just those two.

    Either way it’s exciting! It sounds like we’re about to get some really good prospects for the system. Especially if Shark is involved…

    • Ripsnorter1

      It is exciting.

      It is also pathetic that the excitement that Cubs fans now have consists entirely of who they are going to get off of their current roster.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        I disagree, this is a rebuilding team. Honestly a year ago I would have never predicted we’d have advanced as far in terms of the farm system as we have. The cupboard was so bare and now it’s relatively stocked. When I think about it I don’t even really understand how they’ve done it. I would have never predicted so many of the signings would have turned into as many prospects as they have. Better to be lucky than good I guess.

        It is unfortunate that the big league team isn’t better but pathetic was where we were under Hendry’s last year. Promising is what I’d call it today. Everyone knows how I feel but within the next month we may have a pretty clear view of what our team will look like in 2015, and it will be an exciting, young team with prospects behind them in the system pushing for time and available as trade assets. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s a good time to be a Cubs fan.

      • mutantbeast

        It would be nice if this team could contend. Realistically, we suck. At least we have better assets to trade this year than last year.

    • Ray Ray

      We are on the same page too much these last couple of day. If a team blows you away for Shark….move him. He hasn’t proven that he is a top of the rotation starter yet. Hasn’t pitched 200 innings ever in a season…..and he will want a huge contract and I am not sure he will be deserving of one yet.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        Took the words out of my mouth…

    • John_CC

      No way. You don’t take just any organizations top pitching prospect for Shark. It takes a pitchers a lot longer to develop and make an impact. For every Matt Harvey there are a lot more Tyler Skaggs, Allen Webster, Kevin Gausman, Julio Teheran, Porcello, etc. i.e. very talented pitchers that will take at least a year or two to develop fully into a dominating SP. Look how long it took Samardzija, Bailey, and Scherzer to reach their levels.

      He has the 7th most Ks in the Majors. He currently has more IP, more Ks, lower ERA and WHIP than Verlander.

      You don’t trade that for a pitching prospect, at least I don’t.

  • BosephHeyden

    Samardzija can’t be dealt for anything other than a team’s top prospect and a few others. Not because he’s good enough to warrant that, because that’s debatable. But he is the only guy on the roster than you can look at and, with a 100% certainty, say “This guy wants to be a Cub for life,” and not for the typical reasons of “lack of pressure from the fan base to perform” (which fluctuates whether or not that exists). He wants to be a Cub because he was a fan as a kid and wants to see them win a World Series. He’s gone out of his way to change for the team to improve their chances of getting there. That’s the type of player that you need to keep.

    • gary3411

      If that were entirely true, he wouldn’t have declined discussions for an extension.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    I mentioned in ST that I wanted the Cubs to trade Castro for Justin Upton…a few people thought I was nuts.
    My reasoning was that Castro’s ceiling, I believe, is not that great. I think he will be a .290-.300 hitter, but sub 20-hr power, under 20 steals…ok defensively. Outside of him being really young, I am not sure why he is a cornerstone. Rizzo I understand, because of the power potential.
    If Castro has a good 2H, I would move him in the offseason while he has value…we have other SS prospects that can take his place. Or move him to 2B and finally admit that Barney is a good-fielding backup (at best) who can’t hit.
    I would trade the Shark in a hearbeat. The guy is pushing 30…he is what he is at this point…a solid #2-#3 guy…not an ace.
    I know we could get a haul for Garza, but why not sign him? Isn’t he exactly what the Cubs want…a #1 type starter in his prime? If Edwin Jackson is worth locking up for 4 years, why wouldn’t Garza be?
    If you trade Garza, who do you replace him with next year? The top prospects seem to be position players currently. So bring up those prospects, and retain quality pitching, and add a solid FA or two, and you could improve tremendously next year, if 2 or 3 of the farm kids pan out.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      I’m with you. I’d rather keep Garza than Shark…

      • DWalker

        I’d keep shark over Garza. No Doubt Garza is very good, and I’d really like to keep both. I enjoy having Garza on the team even beyond his pitching ability to be hoenst. Shark has two things though going for him though. 1. Garza is developing a bad habit of being on the DL, Shark seems to have a much better health track record nor does he have the same arm wear as Garza. 2. Shark is a big game pitcher. If you are in the wild card playoff or game 7 of the world series, I’d want shark on the mound. He’s the type that thrives on those situations. Day to day, he might not be as consistant as Garza, but that may develop still over the next couple of years, but he’ll probably always have that big game drive. I don’t think shark is done developing either, hes a late comer to being a starter and he’s still developing some of the feel for pitching 7 innings that garza already has.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          I think Garza is a big game pitcher as well. Was it 2008 when he dominated the defending champion Red Sox in a close-out game of the ALCS? I believe he won game 3 as well. and ended up as MVP of the series.

          Sounds like a proven big-game pitcher to me.

          • Ray Ray

            Ha. I just said the same thing :) Damn Boardrider…what is going on???

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            No kidding Ray! Guess what seems so far may sometimes be near…or something like that ;)…

        • Ray Ray

          Look what Garza did in the ALCS against Theo’s Red Sox. I would take Garza over Shark in a playoff game any day of the week.

      • Ray Ray

        I’m with you Boardrider. Garza is only a year younger and is more of a top of the rotation starter. The issue with Shark is pitch count. There are times where he loses command and might have 70 pitches after 3 innings. Garza is a quality #2 and a great teammate. I would have loved to have extended him but after outings like yesterday….that only increases his asking price in free agency and Theo is not willing to go where others will. Too bad but as I said…they have to trade him now.

        • paulcatanese

          Epstein not willing to go there with Garza could be another nail in his coffin and towards his legacy.
          E. Jackson was brought in and given an extended contract, if they could do it for him they could do it for Garza.
          I agree, Garza is quality number 2 starter, and bouncing back and forth with the Shark at 3.
          One thing about the Sharks pitch count, he looks like he has a very strong arm and body to go with it. It just may be that he can go 140 easily without any stress.
          But as you and others have said, the Cubs do not have a genuine number 1 starter.
          The staff on the whole this year have been pretty darn good, and if it weren’t for the debacle in the bullpen, would have put up very decent numbers in wins and loss’s.
          Got to think the bullpen needs to be addressed and a hitter here and there. A good amount of the loss’s would have been reversed.

          • Ray Ray

            Many on here don’t like when I say this but Theo gambled with Garza on waiting to extend him and he lost. Heyman is reporting now that the Cubs know it is not possible to extend him and will trade him for sure due to his cost. We will never know the extent but I think they never really were trying to extend him last year. They were set on trading him and then when he was shut down….the FO decided to wait it out this year and roll the dice. Now he has proven that he is healthy and has his top of the rotation stuff and other teams are salivating. Garza would be stupid to sign a below market contract now when he will be so highly wanted this free agent season.

          • Tony_Hall

            I believe they have been trying to extend him since they got here. It takes two to make a deal happen.

          • paulcatanese

            and you are right here.

          • paulcatanese

            The face of this team would have been much different had they added Cespedes to the mix, but that’s hindsight, I admit though I was against signing him, too much risk. Then what do I know, I goofed on that one.

          • Ray Ray

            It’s hard for any of us to guess on international free agents where you can only see them on youtube videos and against inferior competition. Same thing with all these international NBA prospects that were drafted last night. More of those guys won’t make it that make actually make good NBA players.

          • Ray Ray

            We will never know Tony but I think they wanted to evaluate the situation with Garza extensively before considering any extension. If he never got hurt last year, odds are he was gone. Was an extension ever discussed before he got hurt? I don’t believe so but again….we don’t know. When Garza got hurt is when I believe Theo thought hard about an extension but they wanted to wait to see if he was healthy. Then they signed EJAX and I believe Garza must have felt..If they are willing to pay EJAX that, I think I am worth $. Extension talks stalled because Garza wasn’t willing to sign a below market deal and here we are. That is how I think it played out. Could I be wrong? of course, but that is my guess.

          • Tony_Hall

            I believe they checked in with his agent during their 1st off season, during last years June/July trading deadline and this offseason and then again now. I don’t believe that Garza and his agent ever wanted to go too far down that road.

            As far as EJAX’s contract changing what Garza’s worth is, once again….no chance. He is still worth the same amount on the open marketplace. Edwin Jackson’s contract does not change the pitching market.

            Zach Grienke, Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, etc Those guys change the market and then guys like Garza fill in behind those contracts.

          • paulcatanese

            you are right there.

          • triple

            I mentioned this in a different thread last night, but couldn’t the Cubs trade Garza, hopefully get a great return, and then still get in on the FA action to resign Garza this offseason. It would be a crude way for the FO to maximize Garza’s current contract by getting some prospects and then make a good offer to bring Garza back to Chicago.

          • Ray Ray

            Could it happen? Yes. Is it likely? No. If Garza goes to a winning team and pitches in the playoffs and possibly WS…he will get that high from pitching on a good team and it will be hard for anyone not to be apart of that again. Look at Anabal Sanchez. He pitched in the playoffs with Detroit after the trade from the Marlins and that was where he wanted to go back.

    • BosephHeyden

      Garza’s not a legitimate #1 starter. Hes a #1 starter on three teams: the Cubs, the Marlins, and the Astros, three teams where he’s the best pitcher on the staff by default (and even with the Cubs, that’s very debatable). Everyone has a high opinion of Garza because he threw a no-hitter once and that lead to Jim Hendry overpaying for him.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        And that 2008 ALCS. He’s not a one-hit wonder. He’s had sustained success and been an ALCS MVP on top of the no-hitter. That’s an impressive resume. If I were to set a playoff rotation he would pitch ahead of Shark, IMO.

        • BosephHeyden

          And since 2008, he’s posted 3.9 ERA’s in all but 2010, where he worked with Larry Rothschild, who, for all his shortcomings in developing pitchers (which he was very bad at, and was also what he was expected to do), could work wonders with pitchers that had already been developed by other pitching coaches.

          It’s not “what have you done in the past,” it’s “what have you done recently.” And recently, his 3.9 ERA’s tell me he’s a #3 pitcher on most pitching staffs.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Using your logic Bo he’s given up 1 run in his past 22 innings. Pretty impressive.

            If he stays healthy I believe he is a #1 on some staffs and a #2 on a championship staff. I don’t know if I’d put Shark higher than a #3 on a championship staff.

            But it’s an interesting discussion and I certainly understand your side of it as well. I believe in both, I just feel Garza is the more proven at only 1 year older.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Garza is not #1 with the Cubs. Shark is.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    In fact, I would be willing to trade everyone on the Cubs pitching staff. Garza is the only one worth signing and keeping. I would keep Edwin Jackson, too…he will come back to his usual numbers eventually, and be a dependable #3 and give you innings.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Ken Rosenthal this morning …

    Rangers were one of the clubs that scouted Garza yesterday. Struck out season-high 10, third straight impressive outing

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Minor league moves

    John Andreoli was promoted to Double-A Tennessee, Bijan Rademacher was promoted to Daytona and OF Kevin Encarnacion has been promoted to Class A Kane County.

    • Tony_Hall

      Well earned promotions.

  • Bryan

    Outside of the Cubs chatter, it’s a beautiful day for a Blackhawks parade and rally! Congratulations Hawks!

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Heck yeah! I’m not in Chicago and not particularly a Blackhawks fan but I meant to congratulate all of my fellow posters on this site that are fans. When the game was over you guys were the first thing I thought of.

  • Ray Ray

    Since there is a lot of talk about Martin Perez today….here is his write up from Prospect Digest.

    #14. Martin Perez, Age: 22, Position: LHP

    Once among the top prospects in the game — Baseball America ranked
    him between #17 and #31 for three consecutive years — Perez’s stock
    really tumbled last season, despite making his big league debut. In 22
    games (21 starts) in the Pacific Coast League, the left-handers K-rate,
    which had hovered near a punch out per inning, was just 4.9 K/9 last
    season. He still generated a lot of groundballs though, at 47.2%.

    Projection:
    Probably the most difficult prospect to rank not only in the system,
    but perhaps in all of baseball. Perez will be just 22 this season and
    has a pretty strong track record, but he may not be able to withstand
    the rigors of pitching every fifth day. He could very well be the next Juan Cruz, a player with enormous starting potential but was never really able to put it together.

    Ceiling: 2.0-win (starter); 1.0-win (reliever)

    Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low to Moderate (starter); Moderate (reliever)

  • Ray Ray

    And here is Mike Olt’s scouting report. His high strikeout rate is what is concerning.

    Mike Olt 3B

    Age: 24

    2012 stats: Hit .288/.398/.579 with 28 homers and 101 strikeouts in 95 games for double-A Frisco

    Scouting report:
    A tall, sturdy third baseman, Olt is a power hitter with a patient
    approach at the plate that has many hopeful of his offensive upside. The
    main concern offensively is his contact ability. He’s a big swinger
    which helps with the homers, but also makes him susceptible to whiffs.
    He’s also had problems recognizing off-speed stuff in the past, the sort
    of weakness that big league pitchers can exploit mercilessly. Olt has
    always been a high-strikeout guy, and he can succeed despite it, but he
    has to keep it within reason.Olt’s defense at third base is his
    calling card, where he projects as an above average player with nimble
    feet, a very steady glove and a strong arm.

    • triple

      Ray, thanks for posting these scouting reports… after reading I don’t know if they are enough to garner Garza in a trade (2 for 1). Garza is a real deal major league pitcher, while it seems like both of these guys are at a crossroads and not totally looking like they’ll take the big step forward. Perez is worth a shot, but there better be at least 2 or 3 other really good prospects included. If the Cubs wanna take a shot at Olt (even though they may not need a 3rd baseman if they get the Bryant contract worked out), maybe they throw in both Vitters and/or Jackson to somewhat trade a problem for a problem.

    • Ripsnorter1

      We’ve already got Brett jackson. We could compile the all-strikeout team……

      Olt is only hitting .207 this year in AAA. At almost age 25, I don’t think he’s going to be Ron Santo for us.

  • J Daniel

    A lot of great debates on Shark but I am sure he will not forget that Theo and boys made him take a pay cut last year. IMO that is why he does not want to sign now and prefers to make it up later. There will no hometown discounts for sure.

    • paulcatanese

      Correcto!

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