The Chicago Cubs made several trades before baseball's non-waiver trade deadline on Tuesday, July 31. Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, and Geovany Soto were all dealt for prospects, but the Cubs were unable to trade their biggest trade chip.
Despite months of rumor and speculation, pitcher Matt Garza is still in Chicago. What's next for Garza and the front office that seems so intent on trading him?
Garza likely would have been dealt had it not been for some tightness in his right arm that flared up in his last start before the deadline. It was unfortunate timing for both Garza and the Cubs. The Cubs were unable to deal Garza for several top-flight prospects and Garza is stuck on a non-contender for the rest of the season. The trades for Dempster, Soto, and Maholm yielded modest returns for the Cubs. Of the recently acquired prospects, only Arodys Vizcaino, currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, is considered a potential impact player in the major leagues. A Garza trade had the potential to bring back at least one, or possibly two, near MLB-ready prospects to the rebuilding Cubbies.
Even with Garza's status up in the air, a number of teams were apparently attempting to acquire him right up until Tuesday's deadline. Chicago's front office made the wise decision to hold onto Garza rather than trading him when he was less than 100 percent. The Cubs can make another attempt to deal Garza during the offseason. Garza will be a free agent following the 2013 season and is unlikely to re-sign with Chicago.
The rest of the 2012 season will be about Garza proving that he is healthy. The Cubs lack quality pitching prospects in the upper levels of the minor leagues. Acquiring several arms that are close to major-league ready will be the key to any offseason Garza trade. The Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, and Detroit Tigers were all said to have some level of interest in Garza. The Cubs hope to rekindle those talks over the winter. The Rangers' deep farm system and Diamondbacks' stable of young hurlers could give them the inside track on a deal with Chicago.
*Information provided by http://www.baseball-reference.com.
Dan Soderberg is a freelance baseball writer who hopes to one day retire to the Wrigley Field bleachers.