Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Examining Possible Returns for Matt Garza

It's the All-Star break, and while they aren't allowed to announced trades during this time, there is no doubt that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are hard at work trying to trade starting pitcher Matt Garza before his next start.  Garza is probably the best available player at the trading deadline, and could instantly step in and help a contender push toward the playoffs.  He is not an ace, but Garza is probably a solid number 2, and a high end number 3 starter at best.  Because of this, people are talking about the possible packages that Garza could bring in return.  Because of the number of teams interested (could be 8 or more teams), Garza should net a very good prospect return for the Cubs. 

In order to keep all of you informed, I have done all the research and put together players from each team involved that you could/want to see in a package for Garza.  No, Garza will not return a top 20 prospect, but he should bring back a borderline top 50 prospect, as well as 2 other organizational top 20 prospects from a decent system.  

This post might be lengthy, but here you will get all of the info you need about players that the Cubs should be trying to get in a trade for Garza.  These teams will be arranged by how likely I think a trade is, starting with the most likely destination for Garza.  The teams interested as reported by David Kaplan and Jim Bowden are the Rangers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Indians, Cardinals, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Pirates, and Rockies.

Mike Olt

In your dreams-INF Jurickson Profar
Most likely staying put-LHP Martin Perez, RHP Tanner Schneppers, RHP Neftali Feliz
Just about right-3B Mike Olt, INF Luis Sardinas, C Jorge Alfaro, RHP Neil Ramirez
Interesting Names-OF Leonys Martin, LHP Robbie Ross, RHP Justin Grimm, RHP Nick Tepesch, 3B Joey Gallo, RHP Luke Jackson, RHP Cody Buckel

The Rangers have a ton of interesting pieces.  Profar isn’t going anywhere, and Martin Perez will likely not be included in a deal for Garza.  Feliz is an interesting guy that the Cubs have rumored interest in, but I don’t see him being moved.  Mike Olt, despite his vision problems and lack of production this year, will probably be in this deal if it happens.  Luis Sardinas is an uber talented middle infielder, while Alfaro is a solid catcher, but he is unlikely to be dealt.  The Rangers have a stock of young arms, including Ross, Grimm, and Tepesch with Major League experience.  Joey Gallo has light tower power, but he strikes out a ton.
You’ll be happy if the Cubs get…Mike Olt, Neil Ramirez, and Luke Jackson.  I like this package for the Cubs.  Olt is a top 50 prospect who has a ton of offensive and defensive upside.  Ramirez was a first round pick who is flat out dominating AA this year.  Jackson has also been great at High A.  This trade gives the Cubs the top talent they want, along with some quality arms to add to their system, which is generally devoid of pitching talent.

Will Middlebrooks
In your dreams-SS Xander Boegarts
Most likely staying put-OF Jackie Bradley Jr.
Just about right-RHP Anthony Ranaudo, RHP Matt Barnes, RHP Allen Webster, LHP Henry Owens, 3B Garin Cecchini
Interesting names-RHP Brandon Workman, RHP Rubby De La Rosa, 3B Will Middlebrooks, RHP Daniel Bard, C Blake Swihart

Holy pitching prospects Batman!!! The Red Sox are loaded with pitching talent, although they’ve said again and again that they don’t want to trade any of it.  I don’t see any logic in this, especially with a loaded NL East.  Ranaudo may be off limits, but Barnes, Webster, or Owens would be a solid centerpiece, although Owens probably has the least value of that group due to command issues.  Cecchini is solid as well, but I feel the Cubs will focus on pitching from the Sox.  The front office does know a ton about most of these guys.  Middlebrooks and Bard are solid buy low candidates who the Cubs should be able to get as throw-ins.

You’ll be happy if the Cubs get…Matt Barnes, Henry Owens, Will Middlebrooks, and Daniel Bard.  Barnes and Owens are probably the two guys out of the big 4 that have the lowest stock right now, but both are loaded with talent.  Command has been a bit of an issue for both, but both have middle of the rotation upside.  Middlebrooks and Bard are simply toss-ins here, but both could use the change of scenery, especially Bard.  While neither offer much value, they’ll be solid players for the Cubs try to turnaround.  Ranaudo has been so good, I doubt the Cubs will be able to pry him away, but Barnes and Owens would be a good return.

Sean Nolin
In Your Dreams-Nobody
Most likely saying put-3B Brett Lawrie
Just about right-RHP Aaron Sanchez, RHP Marcus Stroman, LHP Daniel Norris
Interesting Names-C AJ Jimenez, RHP Deck McGuire, LHP Sean Nolin

The Blue Jays system is nowhere near as deep as the Rangers, but there are some quality names here.  The Cubs would no doubt ask for Aaron Sanchez in any trade for Garza.  If the Blue Jays oblige, Marcus Stroman and Daniel Norris are probably off limits in the same deal.  Catcher AJ Jimenez is solid defensively and has proven himself offensively in the minors, but that shouldn’t translate to a great big league bat. 

You’ll be happy if the Cubs get…Aaron Sanchez, AJ Jimenez, and Sean Nolin.  Sanchez is the top pitching prospect the Cubs want in a deal for Garza.  Jimenez would immediately step in and be the Cubs top catching prospect.  While he’s nothing to be excited about with the bat, he can definitely handle the duties behind the plate.  Nolin is having a fantastic year and is a quality lefty prospect, who should be able to be a back of the rotation kind of guy.

Zach Lee
In your dreams-OF Yasiel Puig (haha good one)
Most likely staying put-SS Joc Pederson
Just about right-RHP Zach Lee, SS Cory Seager, LHP Chris Reed, RHP Matt Magill
Interesting names-LHP Julio Urias

The Dodgers have some interested names including Joc Pederson, but he probably isn’t going anywhere.  Zach Lee would make a solid centerpiece as he has been very good at AA this year.  Seager is a good infielder, but I just see the Cubs focusing on pitchers like Reed and Magill in a return for Garza.  While I don’t believe that the Cubs will get Reed and Lee for Garza, Magill and Lee could definitely happen.  Add in a throw in lower level guy or two, and you have a solid return.

You’ll be happy if the Cubs get…Zach Lee, Matt Magill, and a lower level prospect.  This gives the Cubs the pitching they crave, without the Dodgers having to part with their top guy Pederson.  Lee is a solid middle of the rotation guy, but he probably isn’t an ace.  Reed probably has the best stuff, so the Dodgers keep him as well, while the Cubs will also get Magill, who is a quality back of the rotation guy in his own right.

Trevor Bauer
In your dreams-SS Francisco Lindor
Most likely staying put-None
Just about right-RHP Trevor Bauer, RHP Danny Salazar, RHP Cody Allen
Interesting names-OF Tyler Naquin, 1B Jesus Aguilar

The Indians system isn’t great, but there are a couple quality arms.  Bauer has great stuff, but his command is a big time problem.  Salazar has great stuff, including an awesome change up, while Cody Allen has a great curve which allows him to strike out a lot of hitters.  I don’t see much else of interest here for the Cubs, so this isn’t a great match, but crazier has happened.

You’ll be happy if the Cubs get…Danny Salazar, Cody Allen, and two lower level prospects.  While getting Bauer and Salazar would be great, I don’t see it happening, but hey, the Indians did give up Alex White and Danny Pomeranz for Ubaldo Jimenez.  Salazar provides a solid starting rotation option, while Allen has a power arm that probably profiles to the back of the bullpen, but he could get a chance to start in the Cubs system.

Michael Wacha
In your dreams-OF Oscar Tavares, RHP Shelby Miller
Most likely staying put-RHP Trevor Rosenthal, RHP Carlos Martinez, 1B Matt Adams
Just about right-2B Kolten Wong, RHP Michael Wacha, OF Stephen Piscotty
Interesting names-LHP John Gast, RHP Jordan Swagerty, RHP Tyrell Jenkins, RHP Michael Blazek

Let me just start out by saying this probably won’t happen due to the fact that the Cubs and Cards are in the same division.  The Cubs probably don’t care, but the Cards do not want to see their prospects successful for the Cubs for years to come.  Miller, Tavares, Rosenthal, Martinez, and Adams are pretty firmly engrained with the Cardinals, but Wong would be a good starting piece.  Wacha dipped his toes in the big league pool briefly and he would probably need to be part of the trade.  There are some other interesting arms here, and due to the high price the Cubs will likely ask for, one of them might need to be included.

You’ll be happy if the Cubs get…Kolten Wong, Michael Wacha, and Jordan Swagerty.  Wong is a top 50 prospect in baseball while Wacha projects to be a solid middle to back end of the rotation starter.  This might be a haul for the Cubs, but due to the fact that it’s the Cardinals, a project like Swagerty would probably have to be included.  He could be a solid bullpen option for the future coming off of Tommy John surgery.  All I know is I would be absolutely stunned if these two teams matched up for a trade.

AJ Cole
In your dreams-INF Anthony Rendon
Most likely staying put-No one
Just about right-RHP Lucas Giolito, RHP AJ Cole, RHP Nathan Karns, LHP Robbie Ray
Interesting names-OF Michael Taylor, 3B Matt Skole, LHP Matt Purke, RHP Taylor Jordan, 2B Jeff Kobernus

Rendon is definitely staying put, but Giolito or Cole would be a good start to a possible trade.  Karns and Ray are also solid arms who could be moved.  The Nats have a bunch of good prospects in the rest of their system, with slugger Michael Taylor and quality 3B prospect Matt Skole.  Kobernus has great speed and can hit for average, while Purke and Jordan are solid back end of the rotation potential type options.

You’ll be happy if the Cubs get…AJ Cole, Matt Purke, and Taylor Jordan.  All 3 of these guys are quality arms, with Cole obviously being the best of the bunch.  Jordan won’t overpower anyone, but he has great control and knows how to pitch.  Cole is a quality top of the rotation type guy, who has a plus-plus fastball, but doesn’t have great numbers this year.  Purke had first round talent, but was injured when he was drafted in 2011, so he slipped to the third round, but he has finally started to show what he can do this year. 

Matt Davidson
In your dreams-RHP Archie Bradley
Most likely staying put-LHP Tyler Skaggs, SS Didi Gregorious
Just about right-3B Matt Davidson, OF Adam Eaton, SS Chris Owings, RHP Randall Delgado
Interesting names-OF AJ Pollock, LHP David Holmberg, RHP Zeke Spruill

The Diamondbacks have the 2 top tier arms that the Cubs would for sure want, but I don’t see the Dbacks moving either of them, especially Bradley. Skaggs is more likely, but they said they wouldn’t move him for Samardzija, so they’re not moving him for Garza.  Davidson is having a hell of a year, and Owings is a big time prospect despite the strikeout issues.  Delgado almost came to the Cubs last year, so they obviously like him, but he won’t be the centerpiece here. 

You’ll be happy if the Cubs get…Matt Davidson, Randall Delgado, and Andrew Chafin.  Davidson is a big get, as would Owings, as they are probably interchangeable when it comes to value.  Delgado is a quality arm who we know who the Cubs like and Chafin is a back end kind of guy, as he doesn’t have plus stuff, but he knows how to pitch.  I don’t really see a huge fit here, but this would be a good return for Garza.

Gregory Polanco
In your dreams-RHP Gerrit Cole, RHP Jameson Taillon
Most likely staying put-INF Alen Hanson
Just about right-OF Gregory Polanco, RHP Luis Heredia, LHP Andrew Oliver
Interesting names-RHP Clay Holmes, C Tony Sanchez, LHP Justin Wilson, RHP Kyle McPherson

I don’t really see much of a fit with the Pirates, as the guys the Cubs would want aren’t going anywhere, plus the in division price would be very high.  Polanco would be a great get for the Cubs, but I don’t even know if he would be available.  Heredia is a bit of a project, while Oliver is a former college pitcher who is a good back end guy.  Sanchez is a former first round pick who may finally be figuring it out, while Justin Wilson is in the big leagues and he throws HARD.

You’ll be happy if the Cubs get…Gregory Polanco, Andrew Oliver, and Justin Wilson.  This isn’t as heavy in pitching as other deals, but Polanco is a legit prospect, while Oliver should be a back end type guy and Wilson could be the closer of the future.  Either way, I just don’t see a great fit here.

Tyler Matzek
In your dreams-3B Nolan Arenado
Most likely staying put-No one
Just about right-LHP Drew Pomeranz, SS Trevor Story, OF David Dahl, RHP Chad Bettis
Interesting names-LHP Tyler Anderson, LHP Tyler Matzek, RHP Eddie Butler

There really isn’t much of a fit here, as the Rockies don’t have a ton of top level minor league talent, especially in the pitching department.  

Even their top hitters Dahl and Story have struggled.  Bettis, Anderson, Matzek, and Butler are all interesting, but at best are middle of the rotation guys.

You’ll be happy if the Cubs get…Chad Bettis, Tyler Matzek, and Eddie Butler.  These three arms are all decent prospects, but again, just don’t see the top level type of talent that the Cubs would be after in a Garza trade.

Phewwwwww, well wasn't that fun???  If you're still with me, well then you're a better man than me.  In the end, I think that Garza goes to either the Rangers or Red Sox because those are the two teams that match up the best with the Cubs.  Both teams have strong pitching prospects and the top level talent that the Cubs would like in return for Garza.