One of the hardest things to determine is a players trade value and return in baseball. There are so many changing variables such as market, contract, value, age, teams involved, team needs, etc... But when we get a nice juicy nugget like this it gives us a window into what the Cubs front office expects in return. Keep in mind a lot can change from now until Garza is traded but it is obvious the Cubs are going to sell high and go after at least one pitcher (this goes back to last year when wanting to acquire a top tier pitcher in the deal. The Cubs system for pitchers is pretty weak) and an impact athlete (which is usually someone up the middle of the field CF, SS, 2b. The front office loves these type of players because if needed the can move around the field where the Cubs may have a need). This is why when the O's and Cubs discussed Garza the Cubs wanted Jonathan Schoop (top 50) and Eduardo Rodriguez (top 100).
We have heard upwards of 11 team interested in Garza which are likely the Rangers, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Rockies, Indians, Jays, Dbacks, Nationals, and the Pirates. All teams have varying interest in the right-hander and most have the prospects the Cubs are looking for in a deal for Garza. In this post we will look at the most needy and rumored teams for Garza services. These teams are The Rangers, Red Sox, Padres, Jays, and Dodgers. We now have the knowledge of the quality of prospects the Cubs want in return for Garza and the teams that have interest in Garza. So here is the 5 teams and the prospects the Cubs would want in return using the model of what they asked for when talking to the Orioles.
Note I used both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus top 100 prospects for 2013.
Rangers Top Prospects
Jurickson Profar SS-
Rated #1 prospect overall by both sites he is pretty much off-limits unless the Cubs decide one of their top prospects with Garza or trade Samardzija. So he is pretty much not going anywhere and is rated too high to come to the Cubs for Garza alone.
Mike Olt 3B/OF-
Rated #22 by Baseball America and #30 by Baseball Prospectus the slugger has fallen down a dark hole as far as prospects are concern. Vision problems and injury woes resulted in just a .198 avg over 52 games in AAA is a big concern. The Cubs currently have a nice crop of players that could play 3rd so I do not see Olt as a guy they would look for but they have had interest in the past so he could be part of the deal just not the headliner.
Martin Perez LHP-
Rated #81 by Baseball America and #59 by Baseball Prospectus this guy could be a good solid middle of the rotation starter in the Majors. Especially considering it seems like he has figured it out at the Major League level at the ripe age of 22. This year he is posting a 1.85 ERA in 4 starts in Texas and could find himself as the headliner in a deal for Matt Garza. The Cubs had interest in him last year as well.
Leonys Martin CF-
Rated #98 by Baseball America but does not rank on BP it is unlikely this guy would be moved considering the Rangers OF woes.
Jorge Alfaro C-
Rated #76 by BP but not rated by BA this is not the type of guy I see the Cubs going after.
Luis Sardinas SS-
Rated #86 by BP but not rated by BA this is a guy I could see the Cubs going after. Not as good as Profar but very athletic and the type of player the Cubs like to target. He has posted a .281 avg with a .336 OBP and 21 SB in high A this season. Very raw but the Cubs could target him.
Luke Jackson and Cody Buckel will likely find themselves in top 100 next season and both would interest the Cubs greatly. Luke's Baseball Reference Page and Cody's Baseball Reference Page.
Conclusion: The Cubs would be in a great position to get the most out of Garza by dealing him to Texas. The Rangers wanted him last year so the interest is definitely there. If the Cubs could get Martin Perez and one of Cody Buckel or Luke Jackson it would be a nice haul for the Cubs and even very likely.
Red Sox Top Prospects
Xander Bogaerts SS-
Rated #8 by BA and #12 by BP this is the Red Sox top prize but with 2nd base taken by Pedoria and how well Jose Iglesias is playing he could be a valued trade chip for the Red Sox. But just like Profar; Xander might be to rich for Garza so unless another piece or two is added I don't see him going anywhere.
Jackie Bradley Jr. OF-
Rated #31 by BA and #27 by BP Bradley started the year with the Red Sox but after some struggling was sent back down. He is now hitting .298 avg with a .387 OBP and 7 homers in AAA. Let me be the first one to tell you that Jackie Bradley Jr. could be the main piece in a trade for Garza. Theo knows his system and the competition for Garza seems to be high so getting Bradley Jr. seems a possibility for Garza alone. But if the Cubs did get Bradley another top 100 prospect along with him is unlikely without additional pieces involved.
Matt Barnes RHP-
Rated #40 by BA and #38 by BP is Barnes who could also be the headliner in a trade for Garza but would be accompanied by another top 100 prospect as well. Barnes has struggled some in AA posting a 5.19 ERA but his SO/9 is at 11.0 so he does have swing and miss ability. Some believe he could be a front line starter while others thing he could be a nice closer. Either way he would be a great piece of the Cubs to pick up. And once again a guy drafted by Theo.
Allen Webster RHP-
Rated #40 by BA and #69 by BP is would be a dream to get both Barnes and Webster in a deal for Garza so that is likely not to happen but with Webster you could see him with another top 100 prospect plus another piece. Besides his disastrous MLB numbers he seems to be getting it together in AAA. 2.98 ERA 56 SO to 22 BB and a WHIP under 1.00 in 10 starts is impressive. The Cubs tried to acquire Webster for Dempster last deadline but we all know how that turned out.
Henry Owens LHP-
Rated #91 by BA and not rated by BP is 20 year old lefty Owens. It is entirely possible that the Cubs could get Owens along with Barnes or Webster. There is a slimmer than slim chance the Cubs could get Jackie Bradley Jr. with Hendry Owens but like I said very slim. Owens in high A ball has posted 2.91 ERA in 15 starts while avg. 10 SO per 9 innings. Another guy the Cubs would want and drafted by Theo
Anthony Ranaudo is a former first round pick by Theo and seems to be getting it together at the age of 23 in AA posting a 2.68 ERA in 15 starts. Another power pitcher averaging just over 9 SO over 9 innings seems like a fit for the Cubs. He was ranked 67th best prospect in 2011 by BA.
Garin Cecchini is also a former pick by Theo in 2010 but is not your usual type of player the Cubs would trade for but it is hard to argue with numbers. Just see for yourself here.
Conclusion: The Cubs would benefit from trading with the Red Sox given the knowledge Theo has of the system. The Red Sox has a wave of talent and are in position to make a run at another World Series if they can add an arm. I think if the Cubs got one of Bradley, Webster, or Barnes with one of Hendry Owens, Anthony Ranaudo, or Garin Checchini they would clean up nicely for Matt Garza. The Red Sox may be the best trading partners for the Cubs involving Garza.
Padres Top Prospects
Max Fried LHP-
Rated #46 by BA and #61 by BP he could be the headliner or 2nd prospect in a deal for Matt Garza a first round pick last year could be on this way in a deal for Garza but word is the Padres really want to hold onto him. It is hard to judge if he would be available or not. In 14 starts he has posted a 3.64 ERA but is pretty raw in A ball.
Austin Hedges C-
Rated #58 by BA and #19 by BP it is know he is pretty much off limits for the Padres. In high A he is hitting .269 with .355 OBP and is pretty polished behind the plate catching 37% of base runners this year. This is a guy the Cubs might want but not as a headliner so the match is just not there.
Jedd Gyorko 2B/3B-
Rated #71 by BA and #84 by BP he does not fit the bill of someone the Cubs would go after but I could be surprised. He is currently coming back from an injury and is needed on the Padres so availability may be an issue.
Matt Wisler is a 20 year old righty who has put up decent numbers between high A and AA. In 16 starts he is posting a 2.93 ERA 8 SO/9 and has great control only giving up 2 walks per 9 innings.
Robbie Erlin is a 22 year old pitcher who has been moving through the system jumping from rookie ball last year to AAA this year. He has struggled in AAA this year but that is expected with someone moving up so quickly. See the rest of his stats here.
Conclusion: Out of all the teams the Padres seem like an unlikely fit. The Cubs would have to come away with Wisler, Erlin, and Fried for me to be happy. If they came away with Casey Kelly (Tommy John Surgery, not included on the list), Wisler, and Erlin that would make me very happy. I just do not see a deal happening here with the current formula.
Blue Jays Top Prospects
Aaron Sanchez RHP-
Rated #65 by BA and #32 by BP is a guy that would likely be the headliner in a trade for Garza. The 21 year old first round pick is posting a 2.73 ERA in high A ball and a WHIP under 1.000. He has middle of the rotation potential and would be a nice get for the Cubs. He would be available for Garza plus one more top 100 prospect.
Marcus Stroman RHP-
Rated #98 by BA and not rated by BP is a guy who did serve a suspension for PED use but since has gotten clean. If there is integrity issues I expect the Cubs to pass but he has put up some decent numbers in AA with a 3.38 ERA and 10 SO/9. He would be a nice 2nd piece for the Cubs to acquire for Garza.
Sean Nolin LHP-
Rated #97 by BP and not rated by BA is 23 year old left Sean Nolin. Nolin is the guy I want from the Jays in a deal for Garza plain and simple. Nolin in 10 games with AA has posted 2.61 ERA 9 SO/9 2 BB/9 and has the potential to be a #2 starter in the big leagues. The closest to be ready as far as pitcher go is Nolin and the Cubs could get him plus Sanchez in a deal which should blow your mind as a Cubs fan.
Honorable Mention- (There is quite a few)
Anthony Goose is an outfielder and former top prospect himself has struggled throughout his career in the minors but still got the call up to the big leagues this year. Again he is an athlete but not a main piece or even a secondary piece in a deal for Garza
Daniel Norris is a former top 100 prospect but has control issues. He is another guy that if the Cubs think they can fix he would be a steal. See his stats here.
Roberto Osuna is only 18 years old but he has the makings of being something special. The Cubs have to have interest. See his stats here.
A.J. Jimenez is could be the real deal and might find himself in the top 100 prospect list next season if he continues to do what he is doing. He has natural ability behind the plate so if he bat continues to produce he will become something special. See his stats here.
Conclusion: The Jays are very interesting because the really do not have any high impact talent but have a lot of borderline top 100 definite top 150 prospects in their system. I think as far as quantity the Jays seem like a good fit. I think the Cubs could get Aaron Sanchez, Sean Nolin, and A.J. Jimenez in a deal Garza. I honestly believe that.
Dodger Top Prospects
Hyun-Jin Ryu LHP-
Rated #42 by BA and not rated by BP this guy is not going to be available. Plain and simple. If he is I take him straight up for Garza.
Zach Lee RHP-
Ranked #87 by BP and not rated by BA this could be the prime piece for Garza and he should be. He is trending in the right direction and could move up the top 100 prospect list for next season. I love what Zach Lee brings and think he is potential ace material. In 17 starts he has a 2.79 ERA in AA at the age of 21.
Joc Pederson is an athlete and good outfielder. A former top 100 prospect was drafted in 2010 and continues to improve. Check his stats here.
Corey Seager would be an interesting target given he is a first round pick back just last year and has done well in A ball this season. See his stats here.
Ross Stripling is a guy I could definitely see the Cubs going for. At age 23 he has incredible control and a decent SO rate. See his stats here.
Michael Thomas sounds like a guy that if the Cubs wants to help their bullpen he could be a nice addition. See his stats here.
Chris Reed is another guy the Cubs could look at. See his stats here.
Conclusion: Just like the Jays the Dodgers have a lot of prospects that are borderline 100 but more in the 150 range. Because of this I can see the Cubs getting more than two pieces in a deal for Garza. Realistically a deal that includes Zach Lee, Joc Pederson, and one of Chris Reed, Ross Stripling, or Michael Thomas seems about right in a deal for Garza.
In my opinion the Chicago Cubs front office is going to do their best to get the most high impact prospect talent package they can get. I think it is going to be quality over quantity because the Cubs are just a few prospect pieces away from fielding their young prospect dream team. I think if the Cubs did any of these deals they would automatically become the #1 farm system in MLB.
But having said all that I feel the team that has the best prospects available to the Cubs for what they are looking for is the Rangers. I think if the Cubs could land Martin Perez and either Cody Buckel or Luke Jackson they would be getting one heck of a deal. Not to mention two pieces that likely could help this season and beyond.
In a close 2nd I put the Red Sox because if they are willing to trade one of Bradley, Barnes, or Webster with one of Hendry Owens, Anthony Ranaudo, or Garin Checchini it would be hard to beat. Plus Theo knows that farm so well. They are 2nd but a very close 2nd.
I think the 3rd team I would like to deal with is a tie with the Jay and Dodgers because they seem like they are in a similar position. Getting Aaron Sanchez or Zach Lee a the main piece plus more is hard to come by but the Cubs want higher impact talent and both do not provide that as much as the Rangers and Red Sox.
That leaves the Padres who I just do not see a fit here.
One thing is for sure the Cubs are not going to come away with a disappointing package of prospects for Garza. We will just have to wait and see which team is willing to give up that game changing prospect package.
Until Next Time....