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July 2013

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COMMENTS

Chet's Corner – The Stove Is Heating Up!

Written by , Posted in General

It’s Hot Stove season and everywhere you look baseball fans are over-analyzing their newly acquired piece and crying over their lost hero.  They check and re-check MLB Trade Rumors and the myriad of other rumor mills pumping falsehoods and selling fantasies.  They obsess over the amount of wins a player will be worth or when their newly acquired prospect will start paying dividends.  Yes, from the All-Star game going forward it is skin trade at it’s best.

I can’t remember ever thinking about the trade deadline until about 12 years ago.  The 80’s and the 90’s did not produce this drama, did it?  Then again, present media has a way of buffing a concept to a perfect shine and presenting it as a “thing” we must follow.  The only way to get up to the minute news back then was to listen to the radio.  Now my iPhone alerts me to rumors, not trades mind you, but rumors before they even become a rumor.  They are the fetus of a rumor.  They are a writer hypothesizing potential candidates and it turns into a rumor from there.

Oh, and by the way, don’t be fooled by misinformation, which is actually a tactical play by a GM or organization, coupled with downright lying of course.  We are kept at the edge of our seats as Negotiation Theater plays on in the back rooms.  Sometimes, I wonder if GM’s see the tweets and the articles and have a grand old laugh at the chaos they have caused.  I could just see a GM thumbing through his twitter feed now, “HaHaHa, Matt Garza for Mike Olt…wasn’t even a thought!”

Then I start to obsess….

I wonder if keeping Matt Garza in a Cubs uniform isn’t the right thing to do?  You know, sign him to a three or four year deal.  

Think about that rotation for a minute…Shark, Wood, Garza, Jackson and a PTBNL….hmmmm. It really isn’t that bad.  I still think it lacks a true stopper, a true ace if you will.

If there is one thing any team needs it’s starting pitching.  We don’t need to give it away.  Then again, he would have to agree to a four year deal.  Maybe he thinks he can get more? Maybe four years is even too many? 

Just thinking out loud here.  Now, I know, the prudent thing may be to trade him away for some young guns that could be core pieces for the future say 2-3 years from now.  But what if he was the leader 2-3 years from now?  I say this completely regretting the amount of time the Cubs hung on to Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and just about every other viable trade piece they possessed over the last 10 years that netted very little in the end.  I want to smack myself for even thinking it, but I can’t help it….I can’t quit you Matt Garza!

You see what happened there, I just waffled back a forth and still don’t know how I feel about the whole issue.  Keep him or trade him?  Crazy or sane?  My brain actually produced the above line of thought a few days ago while reading the latest “hypothesis” on the web.

Should be a fun two weeks.  I wonder who will be left in a Cub uniform when the blood is wiped from the trading block?

  • Eddie Von White

    Exactly how I feel.

  • Eddie Von White

    Exactly how I feel.

  • Chuck

    If the Cubs intend to be competitive in 2014 or 2015, then sign him. If it is more 2015 or 2016, then trade him. It is pretty simple. If he is not going to be around anyway when the Cubs are attempting to win then trading him makes the most sense.

    Then again, I don’t enjoy following crappy teams that consider not being in last an accomplishment.

  • Doug S.

    I’m torn on Garza as well and trust our current management to have some clear thinking on the subject.

  • Despite not being named Chet Chat, I always enjoy your installments. Spot on here…if you look around, Garza is the best starter on the market. It is pretty similar to the Ramirez situation…overpay for a veteran who can play actual baseball or hope for something else to sort of happen.

    • Chuck

      I agree that this is similar to the Ramirez situation. The one caveat to ponder here is that the Cubs are not a small-market team like the Royals that need to pinch pennies to meet a budget. They are one of the top revenue teams in MLB and can afford to carry talented players while they are bad so they are not as bad. I believe re-signing Garza will have zero impact on rebuilding in the sense that he will be blocking some hot-shot prospect from cracking the rotation. Re-signing Garza may speed the rebuilding in the sense that he is, you know, good at pitching.

      • Noah_I

        Yet the Cubs are clearly better off at this point for not having signed Ramirez. Even had Ramirez put up the same great numbers he did in Milwaukee last year, the Cubs would have won all of 5-6 games more than they did in 2012. So they would have been a 95-96 loss team instead of 101 loss team. While Ramirez has been pretty good this season offensively when he has played, injuries have limited him to only 54 games, he’s on the DL right now, and he was viewed as generally untradeable unless the Brewers ate a large portion of his contract considering his age (35), declining defense, and injury issues. Additionally, if the Cubs didn’t let Ramirez go they wouldn’t have Pierce Johnson, their best pitching prospect.

        There are also significant differences between Garza and Ramirez, some which point to extending Garza and some which would point to letting Garza go. On the extending Garza side, the biggest one is age. Garza won’t turn 30 until November, and pitchers often don’t decline as quickly or severely as position players. Ramirez was 33 when his contract ended and showing a lot of issues defensively.

        On the letting Garza go side, Ramirez probably would have taken about a 3 year, $30 million deal to stay with the Cubs. Garza will almost certainly require at least 5 years/$75 million. It’s also much easier to find solid, low cost starting pitching through free agency (Maholm, Feldman, Villanueva) than it is to find a solid, low cost third baseman.

        I’m leaning towards trading Garza, but would be fine with an extension as well. I don’t think Matt Garza, who is a probably a solid 2 or very good 3 on most playoff rotations, will be what keeps the Cubs from competing or not in 2014 or 2015.

    • Jedi

      But if you’re Theo, the minute you pull the trigger on one of these bigger deals, there’s no going back; they won’t be able to field an obviously terrible team for 2014 if they throw $80M at Garza (they’d probably need at least one FA signing in the OF, and they’d have to stop ignoring 3B – I don’t think they’re too keen on doing either of those things at the moment).

    • chet

      You might get your wish jswan. It could very well be the new header in two weeks to my post. Maybe we need a contest to name my drivel?

      • Dennis

        Bob….always name anything Bob. It worked in Titan A.E., and a baseball stadium for awhile.

      • Dennis

        Bob….always name anything Bob. It worked in Titan A.E., and a baseball stadium for awhile.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      Perhaps he did not want to be associated with Chet (chit chat) Coppack who as a sports reporter new sports as well as CAPS knows google

    • chet

      Chetter Chatter?

      • I see your Chetter Chatter and raise you a Chet Cetera.

      • Jedi

        Is it miscellaneous? Is it a relative of Chicago tenor, Peter? People would undoubtedly inquire.

  • Despite not being named Chet Chat, I always enjoy your installments. Spot on here…if you look around, Garza is the best starter on the market. It is pretty similar to the Ramirez situation…overpay for a veteran who can play actual baseball or hope for something else to sort of happen.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I beleive the Cubs should trade him. He has an injury history and signing him for anything more than two years is asking for trouble.

    • Perhaps you are correct. We should stick to workhorses such as DeJesus, Dolis, Bogusevic, Schierholtz, Fujikawa, Vizcaino, Sweeney, and Baker.

    • Dusty Baylor

      He got hurt last year for the first time,. This year he had a setback coming back from that injury, and the Cubs were extra cautious bringing him back. It’s not like he’s a pitcher who has a history of 15-20 start seasons and various trips to the DL.

      • Jedi

        Glad someone else said it.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        My comment was based on the answer Doug Thornburg had in this chat session http://baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=1059. Doug is very well versed in pitching mechanics, and his answer was that Garza’s mechanics are not good in terms of shoulder injuries and that Garza has already tweeked his shoulder. That should not keep a trade from happening as the team trying to get Garza will only have him for this year, but I would not be looking to sign him long term unless you think he is the answer to getting you into the playoffs soon.

      • Dusty Baylor

        Wait…I thought his injury was a forearm injury, and the tweak this year was his lat muscle?

      • Jedi

        And everyone said Mark Prior had perfect mechanics…

        I know it’s weird, but everyone’s body is built a bit differently – throwing a baseball is NOT a natural motion to begin with. Give me a repeatable delivery over so-called perfect mechanics.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I agree with you, but if mechanics sugest a possible injury profile, it is prudent to be looking for clues for that possible injury. I believe Theo is smart enough to do his homework, and if the Cubs think Matt is healthy I am all for keeping him, but if Matt has any indications that an injury is possible in the next five years, I would trade him and be happy with the prospects.

      • Jedi

        Fat Dan’s diet suggests a possible heart attack profile…we should just dump him now.

      • Doug S.

        How can you pick on Vogelbach, our future DH?

      • Dusty Baylor

        “If there are any indications that there an injury is possible over 5 years.”
        Ok..um…you just described 97% of all pitchers. Injury forecasting is not really so much an exact science.
        Maddux is the exception, not the rule.

      • PLCB3

        Like Greg Maddux? Who never logged less than 194 innings in a season after his first full season in 1988? (Courtesy of a google search)

      • They grow up so fast…

      • Jedi

        I don’t understand the Maddux-Vogelbach correlation. You didn’t understand my sarcasm.

        But you used Google, so we’re all winners.

      • PLCB3

        I didn’t intend to reply to your Vogelbach comment. If I did, excuse me for being exhausted. I was traveling home yesterday. I intended to reply to your comment “Give me a repeatable delivery over so-called perfect mechanics.”

      • Jedi

        So everyone should use Maddux’s motion because it’s perfect?

      • PLCB3

        Well Maddux never had any serious pitching related injuries, so yes, emulating him would be good.

      • Jedi

        So if Randy Johnson had emulated Greg Maddux’s delivery, he wouldn’t have had any pitching-related injuries? This is the point; so-called perfect mechanics, might be perfect for that person. But applying them uniformly to lanky, tall guys and shorter, pudgy guys isn’t necessarily going to prevent injury.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Your point is very valid Rick Ruechel could not pitch when he was skinny, but pitched very well with extra weight everyone is different, but if a pitching style suggests a certain injury is possible, the Cubs should be looking for signs of when that injury may occur, and then make decision based on that information. It is entirely possible that Garza will never again have shoulder pains, but the Cub’s medical staff should have full knowledge of that and if he is healthy enough to pitch most of the next four years the Cubs should think about resigning him.

      • Greg? Well shit…I’ve spent twenty some years emulating Mike Maddox.

      • Jedi

        Growing pervy mustaches? That explains the dime you did at county.

      • Jedi

        And by the way, I hope your job interview goes well.

      • PLCB3

        Thanks. It went really well, hopefully I will get to the next round of interviews.

  • Noah_I

    I doubt Garza will take 4 years. He’s going to be looking for a deal like Anibal Sanchez got (5 years/$80 million). If the Cubs aren’t willing to do at least 5 years/$75 million with Garza, I don’t think there’s any way he signs an extension and they should trade him.

  • Buddy

    I’d be happy if Garza stuck around, but I don’t think it will happen. Too many teams will be falling all over themselves to add a starter. The Cubs should get a pretty good return for him.