Teams interested in Matt Garza and Sean Marshall

The rumors surrounding teams interested in Matt Garza have been around for a long time. Every year teams have inquired on his availability so it’s no surprise he’s once again the target of trade speculation. Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that teams were also interested in Sean Marshall. The Cubs are set to undergo a rebuilding project that will likely take a few years at the very least. As a result, every player on the roster is available for the right price.

Garza has two years left while Marshall has only one year remaining. We’ve talked about Garza’s trade value before, but haven’t looked at Marshall’s. He’s set to earn $3.1 million in the final year of the 2-year contract he signed last offseason. He’ll be a free agent at season’s end so his value is limited. Marshall ranked 5th in fWAR among relievers in 2010 and 3rd in 2011. He’s combined for 5 fWAR the last two years and has established himself as the best reliever on the Cubs. He’s one of the better relievers in baseball.

Oliver projects 2 WAR from him in 2012. That makes him worth $10 million and gives the Cubs a surplus trade value of $6.5 million. The compensation system changes dramatically next year under the new CBA. In order to qualify for draft pick compensation a team will have to offer their free agenta  qualifying offer for more than $12 million. There is no chance that the Cubs or any other team would offer Sean Marshall that kind of money. Marshall would have been a type A under the previous CBA and would have been worth an additional $5 million. That’s not so anymore. His total surplus trade value is the $6.5 million mentioned before.

A Grade B pitcher is valued at $7.3 million while a grade B hitter is worth about $5.5 million. Using last year’s Cubs top prospects by John Sickels we see that Chris Carpenter and Jay Jackson were grade B pitchers. Josh Vitters was a B-. That gives you an idea of the caliber of player the Cubs could expect in return. It’s difficult to say whether he’d be worth more or less. Teams tend to overpay for relievers, but realistically speaking you’re probably better off expecting a somewhat marginal return. Marshall is good, but he’s a reliever. He’s going to pitch 70 innings per season for a team that will pitch about 1450 innings. He’s a very small piece to the puzzle, but he is good enough that he’s going to provide significant value.