The focus was on Matt Garza when he took the mound on Saturday night for what was likely his final start in a Cubs’ uniform at Wrigley Field. The Garza rumors swirled all day and continued throughout the game as Garza put together another excellent outing. Garza held the high-powered Cardinals’ offense to two runs over 6 2/3 innings in route to his fifth straight win and sixth straight quality start.
Buster Olney reported during the game that the Cubs were said to be making progress with at least two teams on a deal for Matt Garza and he is likely to be traded during the All-Star break. And if Bruce Levine is correct, those two teams could be the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays.
The Cubs arranged their rotation out of the break in such a way that Garza will not start another game until the opener of the four-game series in Arizona on July 22. That is eight days in between starts. And while the Cubs claimed the reason for Garza’s long break was due to his lack of success in Denver (0-2 in two starts with a 7.36 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP), many feel the layoff will give the Cubs ample time to trade him and his new team will have the flexibility of inserting him into their rotation as needed.
Matt Garza walked off the mound at Wrigley on Saturday night to a standing ovation but according to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Garza was so focused on his performance on the mound that he did not let it soak in. Garza said after the game that he hopes Saturday night was not his last as a Cub at Wrigley.
The Rangers had two scouts watching Garza for the second time this week. Scouts from the Tigers, Orioles, Pirates and Blue Jays were also at Wrigley but it is unknown if they were there solely for Matt Garza or if a couple of those teams could be interested in Kevin Gregg and/or James Russell.
Bruce Levine reported Saturday night the Red Sox, Indians and Giants have “expressed strong interest” in Matt Garza and the Cubs are looking for pitching and “run-producing prospects” in return for Garza. Levine pointed out the Blue Jays and Rangers were the two teams trying to pry Garza away from the Cubs last year before he got injured. Levine reported a deal with the Rangers would likely include third base prospect Mike Olt.
Ken Rosenthal reported the Dodgers and the Nationals remain in the mix for Garza and the Cardinals would also be a fit for Garza … but St. Louis is unlikely to trade top talent for a two and a half month rental according to Rosenthal.
The Matt Garza Watch figures to continue on Sunday as Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer attempt to max out the return for the top starting pitcher known to be available.
Scott Baker will make his first rehab start with the Kane County Cougars on Sunday. Baker is scheduled to throw four innings or 65 pitches. Baker could be a month away from joining the Cubs’ rotation if he does not have any setbacks.
Brett Jackson is close to starting a rehab assignment in Arizona after spending the last month on the DL with a calf injury. Reports on Saturday indicated the Cubs have spoken with Jackson about reporting to Double-A Tennessee when he is healthy enough to come off the DL instead of Iowa. According to Bruce Miles, Jackson “is upset about that idea.”
The Cubs feel a little time in Double-A could give Jackson some confidence and get him on track. In between three injuries this season, Jackson is hitting .223/.300/.367/.667 in 61 games for Iowa this season. Jackson has seven doubles, three triples, six home runs, 21 walks and 77 strikeouts in 242 plate appearances.
Arismendy Alcantara and the SiriusXM Futures Game
The SiriusXM Futures Game is Sunday afternoon at 1:00pm CDT on ESPN 2 and Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette will call the action on MLB Network Radio. One of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system will be in the starting lineup for the World Team.
Smokies’ second baseman, Arismendy Alcantara will hit second for the World Team.
This is a must-see event for those that closely follow Minor League Baseball and the top prospects in the game.
Cole Gillespie and the Cubs’ Roster
The Cubs’ claimed former Diamondbacks’ outfielder Cole Gillespie off waivers from the Giants on Saturday. Gillispie was added to the Cubs’ 40-man roster, which now stands at 40 players. Gillespie is expected to be activated before Sunday’s finale with the Cardinals. Unless the Cubs place Nate Schierholtz on the DL, which is not expected, the Cubs will have to send out a reliever to make room for Gillespie. There is always the possibility Garza could be traded but that does not seem likely prior to Sunday’s game.
There was talk prior to the Cubs designating Shawn Camp for assignment and optioning out Chris Rusin to open spots on the 25-man roster for Pedro Strop and Matt Guerrier that Henry Rodriguez’s days with the Cubs could be coming to an end. Will the Cubs make a decision on Henry Rodriguez just one day prior to a long break? The Cubs’ pen has performed much better of late and with Michael Bowden just being added back to the roster it would appear Rodriguez could be the odd man out.
Darwin Barney is glad to have his former Oregon State teammate with the Cubs … and Dale Sveum is familiar with Gillespie from their days together with the Brewers.
News, Notes and Rumors
David DeJesus is leaving for Arizona on Monday to increase his rehab. DeJesus is expected to play in a few games in Arizona once he is ready then go out on a short-rehab assignment in the Cubs’ system that could begin at the end of next week.
The Dodgers are looking to add a reliever and are believed to be interested in Kevin Gregg.
According to a report from Nick Cafardo, Alfonso Soriano is among the right-handed bats a few teams are looking at along with Hunter Pence, Kendrys Morales, Michael Young and Alex Rios.
Jason McLeod is in Des Moines watching the I-Cubs play for a couple of days. When asked how close Junior Lake was to be called up to the Majors, McLeod said Lake is very close. As for Javier Baez being promoted to Triple-A Iowa this season, McLeod said he doubts Baez would be promoted to Triple-A this season.
And speaking of Junior Lake and Javier Baez … Baez hit his second home run in as many games and worked a walk on Saturday night. Kyle Hendricks improved to 9-3 with another excellent outing while Baez (1-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and a walk) helped lead the Smokies to a 5-0 victory. With McLeod in attendance, Lake went 4-for-4 with a double, a RBI, two runs scored and three stolen bases.