Matt Garza’s trade value

MattGarza-pitchIt's assumed by many that Matt Garza's trade value is high enough that he will almost certainly be traded. As I was last year, I remain unconvinced. Before we get into his actual trade value, the Cubs have three options with Garza.

  • Trade
  • Qualifying offer at the end of the season
  • Sign extension

The first two are connected and the third is for a separate post.

If the Cubs keep Garza and present him with a qualifying offer at the end of the season (around $12 million), they would receive draft pick compensation in the 2014 Draft. This compensation pick was valued at around $2.5 million back in 2009 so we can increase that to at least $3 million. That's what the Cubs get, in terms of value, if they do nothing other than give him a qualifying offer.

This is important because any team that trades for Garza would not be eligible for draft pick compensation. The new CBA says that a player is only eligible to receive this if he's been with the team the entire year. That $3 million is money that the trading team can't get and as a result, it lessens his value.

Prior to the new CBA, teams would acquire players like Garza with the intention of getting that draft pick at the end of the season. As such, it increased the trade value. The new CBA kind of sucks and this is gone. Teams won't be paying, in prospects, the value of that draft pick.

That doesn't mean it doesn't have value to the Cubs. It does. It's roughly $3 million in value. What I'm getting at is that in any trade, the Cubs are going to have to get back that much in value to make it worthwhile. If they can't, they keep him and go the qualifying offer route.

Matt Garza earns $10.25 million this year. A lot of people forget that you're trading contracts and not players. Assuming no money is sent to the other team, if Garza was traded today, the team he was traded to would be on the hook for roughly $5.1 million the rest of the way.

The value of the win is roughly $5 million. Now we know how much Garza would have to be worth (1 win).

Fangraphs rest of season projections for ZiPS and Steamer have him at 1.1 and 1.3 WAR, respectively. PECOTA has him at 1.5. We get an aveage of 1.3 WAR the rest of the way making him worth approximately $6.5 million. Since he's owed $5.1 million, he has a surplus trade value of $1.4 million, which is half of what the draft pick compensation would be worth to the Cubs.

I feel I have to point out that this does mean, guaranteed, that Matt Garza's surplus trade value is $1.4 million. The projections may not be accurate. One or more teams may value Garza more, may feel desperate, could convince themselves that roughly 1 to 2 wins the rest of the way is the difference they're looking for, could ignore such analysis altogether and so on. It's a good starting point for discussion and some teams will end up getting more and others less.

The Cubs could send some money the other direction to improve whatever prospect or package of prospects they're looking to acquire. If the Cubs send the remaining money on his contract, the Cubs could then expect to get Garza's full value in return ($6.5 million).

That is somewhere between a Grade B hitter and a Grade B pitcher. Ken Rosenthal reported that the following teams were recently scouting Matt Garza: Nationals, Dodgers, Phillies, Orioles and Blue Jays. Jon Heyman adds that the Giants, Red Sox and Rangers to the list.

I still think it's most likely that Garza will be traded, but I don't expect a huge return for him or anything. I'd be inclined to sign him to an extension if Garza was willing to for the right terms. The Cubs need pitching and since their farm system lacks it, they're going to have to acquire it on the free agent market. They could probably sign Garza to an team-friendly extension and moving forward the Cubs know they have two guys who can fit in the top spots of their rotation (Jeff Samardzija being the other).