According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Toronto Blue Jays may be showing interest in acquiring Matt Garza from the Chicago Cubs.
One rival executive reports that the Jays are “sniffing all over” Cubs right-hander Matt Garza – a move that would make some sense, considering that Garza is under club control through 2013. But the Jays also have needs in first base and left field, and a long-term question at second base, withKelly Johnson only on a one-year deal.
Rosenthal quite rightly points out that the Blue Jays aren’t exactly one move away from competing, even next year, let alone this year. However, Garza, with an additional year of team control in 2013, would be a more compelling addition than a one year rental given the team’s current position in the AL East.
I’m all for risk when it comes to drafting young players, but a more conservative approach when it comes to trading might be appropriate for a team currently tied for last in its division, no matter how tightly bunched up that division is. Instead of looking to acquire a player that will help you win now, a more prudent approach would be to look at players that will improve your team over the next few years. That probably sounds rather obvious, but given how long its been since this team made the playoffs and the new expanded round this season, I would not be in favour of a move that merely gets the Blue Jays to the Wild Card playoff game.
In my mind, that’s too much of a gamble, and simply not worth it.
While Garza’s extra year of control offers an advantage over other pitchers that will more than likely be available on the trading block, you still have to consider that he’ll be making an increase on the $9.5 million he’s making this season in his final year of arbitration.
What about holding steady, and using the $12-$15 million earmarked for Garza, who will cost you additional assets to acquire, to put toward Zack Greinke on the free agent market. Yes, the terms will be more expensive than a final arbitration year and they’ll certainly last longer, but I can’t escape the feeling that Greinke would be a good fit in Toronto, and a Blue Jays team in desperate need of some top of the rotation consistency.
Given the six year, $127.5 million contract that Matt Cain signed in the early part of this season, the Blue Jays could be players for Greinke with an offer in the five year, $100 million department, a deal that would also lend itself to the team’s policy of not offering free agent contracts beyond five years.
Of course, there are a lot of variables at play, not the least of which is how the Blue Jays perform ahead of the July trade deadline, which will likely sway the team one way or the other between being buyers or sellers. There is a scary thought amidst all of this, and we touched on it in the podcast. As the Blue Jays make up their mind, their division rivals, without having having to make a mid-season trade will be getting back Brett Gardner, Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria.
I wonder if, for the Blue Jays, the iron was already hot, and they merely didn’t strike.