I’m torn on whether or not the Cubs should trade Matt Garza.
On one hand you have a strong starting pitcher who’s entering his prime, is capable of 15 or more wins per year, and is under contract for two more seasons.
On the other hand, Garza, 27, is at the height of his trade value and could easily fetch prime talent in return, such as what Tampa received in the very deal that brought Garza to Chicago, or in one similar to the Zach Greinke trade from K.C. to Milwaukee.
My gut feeling is not to trade your best starting pitcher, even with the Cubs in dire straights to plug holes at numerous positions. Then again, trading the right-hander could set in motion a long-term fix to reaching the postseason.
Theo and Jed, take your pick.
Trade Garza and you’re looking at a Cubs rotation anchored by Ryan Dempster, the unsteady Randy Wells and an unproven Andrew Cashner–if in fact, Cashner returns to a starting role.
Then there’s Jeff Samardzija, and dare I mention, Carlos Zambrano, who could also potentially join the rotation, but these guys are hardly at the level of Garza, as well.
It’s possible, of course, a Cubs rotation void of Garza could still be an improved club from last year, but it’s obviously more likely the Cubs stand a much greater chance to compete with him than without him.
What I do know, however, is the Cubs final decision to either trade Garza or keep him, will give us a clearer idea of Epstein’s & Company’s plan to rebuild the roster.
Retaining Garza appears the safe approach, one that gives Chicago a better chance to win now.
But the risk involves paying top-dollar for a guy who may very well be past his prime by the time the Cubs are championship caliber contenders.
On the flip side, trading Garza appears the riskier decision–dealing a proven top-of-the-line starter for unproven ‘potential’ talent.
Yet, the right deal might also set the foundation for a talented and youthful bunch ready to make a championship run sooner than later.
As for what I think the Cubs will do with Garza? My best guess says they’ll deal him for talented prospects this winter–headlined by more pitching and a major league ready corner infielder in return.
Whether or not that’s the right move, well, we’ll just have to wait and see.