Garza on block? Maybe for right deal
November, 28, 2011
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com
AP Photo/H. Rumph JrMatt Garza won just 10 games in 2011, but it was the most on the Cubs.If you believe what's being floated in other big-league cities, the Chicago Cubs may be ready to trade right-hander Matt Garza.
The 28-year-old is still under the Cubs' control for two more seasons and will be arbitration eligible in 2012 and '13 before approaching his free-agent year in 2014.
Although Garza won just 10 games in '11, it was a team high, and he was removed in six games where he had a lead in the late innings, only to see those leads result in no-decisions.
Garza averaged 8.95 strikeouts per nine innings, which was the seventh-best ratio in the NL.
The Cubs would want a package of four or five players in return for Garza. The Tampa Rays received five minor leaguers in January, 2011 in an eight-player trade.
The most prominent team that may be involved is the Texas Rangers. The AL champs could lose 16-game winner C.J. Wilson, who is looking for a six-year, $120 million deal as baseball's top left-handed free agent pitcher.
The Rangers had a four-player proposal on the table for Garza when the Cubs and Tampa consummated their trade.
Texas has an abundance of prospects they could dangle for Garza, including first baseman Mitch Moreland, who is an emerging left-handed power hitter.
Garza made $5.9 million in 2011 and should get between $8 million and $9 million through the arbitration process in 2012.
Although Garza does fit the mold of a young starting pitcher the Cubs are looking to have under contract, he may bring back the right package of pitchers and position players to get the Cubs rolling into 2013 and beyond.
The team still may be interested in Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, who is contemplating whether to leave Japan for the U.S.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer watched free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, a 26-year-old Cuban defector living in the Dominican Republic in a private workout last week.
Cespedes has at least five teams that requested private workouts, including the Marlins, Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers, according to a major league sources. Other teams also have shown interest.