We've heard this a million times already this off-season, so I'm still skeptical. However, there's been some strength developing behind this rumor this morning, with two Chicago reporters stating similar stories. And now Buster Olney is reporting on it too:
Cubs stepped up last 48 hours to be very, very aggressive to get Garza -- just as Brewers stepped up for Greinke. An NL Central arms race.
Here's the report of the rumored package, provided by Bruce Miles:
Would you give up Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Brandon Guyer and Robinson Chirinos to get Matt Garza. The Cubs are getting set to do just that, I've learned this morning. An announcement is not imminent for several reasons (physical exams, for one), but that is the package (based on several conversations with reliable sources I've had last night and early this morning) the Cubs will to give up to get what they believe is a No. 1 or No. 2 pitcher.
I'm not too familiar with the Cubs's top prospects, but a couple people (Dave Cameron, Buster Olney,Jim Callis) have chimed in on Twitter already, stating that the Cubs would be giving up too rich a package for Garza. What do you think?
Update: Marc Topkin just chimed in on the deal, saying that the Rays have given a "no comment". That's as close to a confirmation from the Rays as you'll get, and it appears as though Topkin is viewing these rumors as legit. Strap in folks, this one looks like it's for real.
Update: ESPN is reporting that this trade has been approved pending physicals. The final package looks like this:
...right-handed pitcher Chris Archer, outfielder Brandon Guyer, catcher Robinson Chirinos, shortstop Hak-Ju Lee and outfielder Sam Fuld to Tampa for Garza, a minor-league pitcher and a minor-league outfielder.
Off the top of my head, this looks pretty sweet. My guess is the final two players aren't big names - Ruggiano as the outfielder, perhaps - while the Rays are getting an impressive haul. Archer is a power starter and only adds to our impressive pitching depth, Guyer and Chirinos provide lots of power and are both pretty close to the majors, and Hak-Ju Lee is young and far from the majors, but has lots of upside at shortstop.
Update: The news from Bruce Miles is that Fernando Perez is the minor-league outfielder included in the trade. I'm sad to see Nando leave, but he'll likely have a better chance of contributing with the Cubs than he did with the Rays. All the best to him.