Earlier, Anno wrote about the rumors surrounding getting Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs. One of the trade pieces being discussed is Matt Garza, though we’re not sure how serious the Padres are of taking on Garza’s arbitration raise while giving up prospects. We also know that the Texas Rangers had previously talked to the Cubs about acquiring Garza, and may still be interested in doing so. If this is the case, then Anno’s idea about the three-team trade between the Cubs, Rangers and Padres makes a lot of sense and has been echoed by a lot of the blogosphere. This does not preclude the possibility of a straight-up trade, however. So how could the trade scenarios play out?
We know, thanks to some analysis done by the folks at Obstructed View, how much Garza might be worth in a trade. We also know that the general managers in question (Josh Byrnes for the Padres, Jon Daniels for Texas and Theo/Jed for the Cubs) aren’t stupid. We can assume that the Padres, if they were to acquire Garza, are likely to flip him in a subsequent trade for more assets, a view echoed by Bleacher Nation and their mysterious sources. We know that the Rangers wanted Garza and were unable or unwilling to pay the full price in trade to the Cubs. In this case, it is likely the Cubs might be giving up just Garza plus a throwaway, and then the Padres and Rangers would become prospect middlemen. In order to recoup some of the cost, the Rangers may require some prospects from the Padres or else their being the middleman makes no sense.
From OV’s analysis linked from above, we can assume that Garza brings back a top 51-75 hitting prospect or around a top 26-50 pitching prospect. Baseball America has a top 100 list of prospects from the start of the 2011 season. From that list, we see that Brett Jackson is the #38 prospect, so there’s no reason to include him in this trade unless the Padres basically fold and become the Cubs’ AAAA affiliate, so let’s not explore that further. Below the #50 mark, the relevant prospects are:
- 58. Simon Castro, RHP, Padres
- 74. Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers
- 75. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Padres (Cubs want this guy, but just included him because)
- 84. Tanner Scheppers, RHP, Rangers
I’m not sure who the Cubs and Rangers talked about in the original Garza trade negotiations, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Theo/Jed asked for Profar or Scheppers. One hypothesizes that the Cubs would want a solid pitching prospect or two in return for giving up their most valuable and consistent pitcher.
Looking at the Padres‘ and Rangers‘ prospect lists (the rankings will vary depending on which scout is doing the ranking, and also does not reflect how the prospects’ respective front offices may value them), there are lots of really good young pitchers and position players. We can now do a reset and determine what each team’s primary desires are, and who has what:
- Padres: not actually Matt Garza, but a highly rated pitching prospect. The Cubs don’t have this (Andrew Cashner probably doesn’t count as he’s an injury risk), but the Rangers do.
- Rangers: Matt Garza, without giving up too many prospects. Since the Cubs’ farm is bare, the compensation will have to come from the Padres in the form of lesser prospects.
- Cubs: Anthony Rizzo, plus a pitching prospect or two to replace Matt Garza. These prospects can come from either the Padres or Rangers. Cubs may even be cool with a solid position player prospect.
The only realistic chip the Cubs have is Matt Garza himself. If the Rangers and Padres can’t figure their stuff out in terms of prospect buffers, then Garza isn’t going anywhere. But I can see a scenario where the other two teams do a swap where Texas gives SD a couple pitchers as an equivalent for Garza. The Rangers would then receive a lesser pitcher and position player back from SD. Matt Garza isn’t worth Anthony Rizzo on his own, so either SD or Texas will have to send an extra pitcher to Chicago. I’m sort of interested in Martin Perez from the Rangers’ organization, or Casey Kelly, who was a former Theo draftee from Boston before being moved out West in the Adrian Gonzalez trade. Of course I have no idea how far the former Theo dream team nepotism goes.
I’m almost inclined to say that Garza isn’t going anywhere, but baseball is a very strange and magical game, even in the offseason. I wouldn’t be surprised either way.