CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 21: Matt Garza #17 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers on September 21, 2011 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
The Chicago Cubs probably are going to need to overhaul most of their roster to get back to contention, and that has the team "open for business" on star pitcher Matt Garza, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com. This bodes well with a previous report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today saying that the team would listen to trade offers for every player on the roster.
Considering that it's probably not likely that the Cubs are willing to deal shortstop Starlin Castro, although he could bring in a monster haul, Garza essentially qualifies as the team's best trade chip. The 28-year-old was acquired by Chicago before the 2011 season to be the team's ace, and he certainly followed through by posting a 3.32 ERA and 2.95 FIP over 198 innings.
Always considered a pitcher with top-of-the-rotation upside, Garza finally reached that level with Chicago in 2011, and it appears that they might be trying to cash in on that performance through a trade. Given that he's not going to have an exorbitant cost through arbitration over the next two seasons, he's one of the few affordable alternatives on the market for any team that's seeking top-level pitching.
With Theo Epstein likely looking to make a big splash in order to bolster the farm system, and Garza qualifying as his biggest trade piece, don't be surprised if the Cubs look for a blockbuster deal this winter. Pete Abraham of the Boston Herald suggested that the Red Sox could offer prospects Anthony Ranaudo and Kolbrin Vitek, but I don't think that's a strong enough offer after the underwhelming year that Ranaudo had.