With word out of Chicago that the Cubbies are ready to sell off some of their major league parts to kick start a rebuild the vultures are already circling. They definitely have some serviceable parts but the apple of Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos’s eye is no doubt Matt Garza, likely about to become the most coveted available arm in baseball.
MLB Trade rumours reports the New York Yankees are among the teams interested in acquiring the stud right hander from Chicago and with good reason. Garza has already proven he can handle an AL east workload as he thrived for the Tampa Bay Rays. He has only increased in value by pitching like a madman in the NL Central for the Cubs.
While his stats are slightly down compared to last year his rates remains strong (8.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 3.70 xFIP) and he would be a valuable addition to any playoff contender’s rotation. One red flag would be his elevated homerun rate this season (1.35 HR/9) and for his career he has given up exactly one homerun every nine innings.
Wrigley Field definitely inflates homerun totals so a move to any other park (besides Yankee Stadium) would be neutral. His HR/FB rate is a career high 16% which speaks for a lot his apparent gofer-itis. He is still keeping the ball on the ground (44.6 GB%), throwing as hard as ever (93.3 avg fastball velocity) and holding opposing batters under 80% contact for the season.
The player isn’t the question in this equation it is definitely the price to acquire him. If the New York Yankees are serious and want to be aggressive I hate to say it but they definitely have the pieces to make this happen.
Not sure if there are any hard feelings between former Boston Red Sox (and current Chicago Cubs GM) Theo Epstein and the New York brass but Theo doesn’t strike me as a man who would let a grudge stop him from getting the absolute best deal.
While the Yankees don’t boast the system wide depth the Blue Jays have they could definitely make an enticing offer. Among the names any GM would be interested in would be starting pitchers Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances (though his stock has fallen), outfielder Mason Williams and catcher Gary Sanchez.
Not certain if any big deal would be dependent on Matt Garza signing some form of a contract extension or if teams would be wary of letting go of their top assets for a possible one or two year rental. If the market isn’t ripe at the trade deadline I have no doubt the Cubs will just hang onto Garza and play this scenario out again in the winter.
How committed are the Blue Jays to winning this season? Would they be aggressive and ponder moving one or more of Travis d’Arnaud, Anthony Gose, Jake Marisnick, Aaron Sanchez or Daniel Norris? The Jays have the depth to withstand losing a couple key prospects but I am confident Alex Anthopoulos isn’t keen on getting involved in a bidding war for any player.
The offer would undoubtedly begin with one of the above mentioned five prospects plus at least two other half way decent youngsters in the top 8-15 prospect range. Is this the proper time to buy? Do the Blue Jays have what it takes to compete in the toughest division in sports? Is Garza the piece that puts them over the top?
The stakes are extremely high and this will be one of the toughest trade deadlines (actually, the toughest) in the young Mr. Anthopoulos’s career.