Jayson Stark had an interesting rumor on Matt Garza that's worth discussing a bit.
We'd still wager heavily that Matt Garza will get traded in the next month. But if it happens, it'll definitely be a heavy-duty kind of deal. One AL executive's description of the Cubs' current model for a potential Garza trade is "the Ubaldo Jimenez deal." Translation: It's going to take two young, controllable players with big upside.
The Indians acquired Jimenez for Alex White, Matt McBride and Joe Gardner. Alex White was rated as the 47th best prospect entering the 2011 season while the other two were unranked. Joe Gardner was ranked a B prospect by John Sickels. Jimenez had 3 years of arbitration remaining on his contract and had established himself as one of the better pitchers in the National League. The Indians gave up about $23 million in minor league talent between the 3 players and acquired 3 cost-controlled years of a very good pitcher. Jimenez had taken a huge step back, but at the time of the trade he was expected to be pretty good.
Garza, on the other hand, has only one year remaining of club control after this one and wasn't quite as good as Jimenez was prior to a trade. If the Cubs are looking for this kind of a return they'll probably find nobody interested. I'm also fairly certain this return would be much less than what the average Cubs fan would expect for someone like Garza, but he just doesn't have that much trade value remaining.
Update: Mish pointed out that Drew Pomeranz was also included in the deal. I wrote this after learning of my error:
Ubaldo’s ZiPS last year was about a 3.30 FIP. Garza’s is 3.64 right now. Plus, the run environment was projected to be higher entering 2011 than it is projected to be now. There’s really no comparison between the value these two had at the time of trade discussions.