Monday, January 9, 2012

Garza watch 2012! What can Detroit give us?

I was about to do a story today about where the Cubs roster currently stands.  Well, I've decided to hold off on that post for a little while as a rumor from David Kaplan blew up this afternoon on Twitter.

from @thekapman on Twitter:
Sources tell me that the Cubs and Tigers are down the road on a deal that would send Matt Garza to the Motor City.
When asked to clarify this, Kaplan responded:
When I say "down the road" on trade talks with the Tigers for Garza I mean that talks have progressed far beyond the initial stages.
Not going to be a Cub soon.
I'm not sure why, but my gut tells me this is likely a true statement.

Kaplan has also stated that the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays are also still interested in an article he wrote for CSN.

So what can the Cubs expect from the Tigers in return for Garza?  Well, at the very least, the Cubs will want at least one, probably two, of the Tigers top prospects as part of the deal.  So who would we be looking at here?

Mark Grace fans will rejoice that the number 17 will be pure again.
In most every report I've seen, the top two prospects that are talked about in the Tigers system are right handed pitcher Jacob Turner and 3rd baseman Nick Castellanos.

Turner is a 21 year old who made his major league debut this past season.  He was the Tigers first round draft pick in 2009 and has been ranked in the top 30 of BAs prospects list for 2010 and 2011.  He's got a fastball in the mid-90s and decent curveball according to scouting reports.  He's tall at 6'5" which you would hope could lead to some good downward movement on his pitches.  He's had some issues with his forearm which has led some people to be concerned about his durability.  Based on his stats, his control seams to be ok, but not great.  Kaplan has mentioned, as have a few other reporters, that the Tigers are willing to let Turner go.  For the Tigers, the prospect of getting a sure thing in Garza with two years control in return for a prospect who may have injury problems and who might not meet expectations seems like a logical idea...especially if they are going to make another serious run at a title this coming season.

Nick Castellanos was draft in the supplemental portion in the first round of the 2010 draft.  He'll be 20 years old at the start of the 2012 season.  He had a very nice first full season in the minors last year hitting well over .300.  The scouting reports for are extremely positive for this kid.  He's got a nice, quick swing and power to all fields.  Defensively he's got an above average arm with average range.  He's quite young yet and has only one full professional season under his belt.  He didn't hit for a ton of power in his first season, but that might come as he develops over the next few years.  I don't believe most people see Castellanos being ready for the big leagues until 2014.  Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has stated the the Tigers might not be willing to part with Castellanos...but if they want Garza and are in competition with 3 other teams for him, they might end up letting Castellanos go.

A group of 3 other left handed pitchers may targeted by the Cubs as well.

First, 23 year old Casey Crosby who had Tommy John surgery a few years ago.  He has recovered and 2011 was his first year back where he put up only so-so numbers in AA with some serious control issues (77 walks in 131 innings).  The Tigers think very highly of him as they put in on their 40 man roster to prevent him from being exposed to the rule 5 draft.

Next is 22 year old Drew Smyly who had a really nice year split between A and AA posting and ERA of about 2.00.  He's got a fastball in the low 90's with decent control.  I'm not sure if he projects out to be a #1 or #2 starter, but he appears to have good enough stuff to be solid middle of the rotation starter in the big leagues.

Finally is 24 year old Andy Oliver who is a power arm with big potential.  He's made starts (7) at the big league level over the last two seasons with limited success.  He didn't have a very good season at AAA last year either.  His fastball averages in the mid 90's, but he gave up 80 walks in 147 innings last year which is quite disturbing.  He's got electric stuff, though.

Other names to watch for are catcher Rob Brantly, outfielders Avisail Garcia and Daniel Fields, and infielder Hernan Perez.

"Where's that seagull that pooped on me?"
I personally would like to see Garza stay, but if the Cubs could get Turner and one of these other prospects listed above along with 1 or 2 other lower rated minor leaguers, then I'd be perfectly happy with the trade.  A number of these players are better than any of the players the Cubs gave away to the Rays last year.

With the Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays still interested, the Cubs are in a really good position here and I don't expect Garza to be around for much longer.