Garza told a trade is likely

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Contract talks between the Chicago Cubs and Matt Garza have broken down and now the starting pitcher has been told a trade is likely. A trade being likely is of no surprise, the surprise was that the two sides were talking about a contract extension after two years of trade rumors. Now that that’s done it’s time to go back to the trade rumors. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that there are four, maybe more, that are interested while ESPN Dallas says that two teams are favorites. One thing that’s for sure is that whatever team acquires Garza will be a favorite at The Sports Geek whenever he pitches and rightfully so.

Cubs star righthander Matt Garza, who separated himself as the top available starting pitcher with a string of impressive recent outings, has received notice that he will likely be traded after contract talks didn’t produce an extension. Garza is drawing interest from the Rangers, Indians, Red Sox and Cardinals, among others. (Jon Heyman – CBS Sports)

The Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays remain the front-runners for a trade with Chicago, according to industry sources. The Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and San Francisco Giants have also expressed strong interest in the pitcher. (Bruce Levine – ESPN Dallas)

Looking at both of these reports I think it would be safe to say the main players involved are the Rangers, Red Sox and Indians. Pretty easy assumption right? There the only teams that both guys mentioned.

Levine says the Blue Jays and Rangers are the favorites because they both have had numerous scouts at his last few starts AND were the two main suitors last trade deadline. Personally, I don’t see the Blue Jays being main players this time.

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Yes, they’ve scouted him heavily but they’re currently 11.5 games back in the American League East and 8.5 games back in the Wild Card race. They’re not out of it by any stretch of the imagination but they’re in last place in the East and have to jump four teams to earn a Wild Card berth. Even worse is that they’re 18-27 against the East this season. Garza has had success in the AL East but he can’t make up nine games himself.

So would the Blue Jays be willing to pay the price of top prospects for a rental that probably won’t get them back in the race? I highly doubt it.

That leads me to side with Heyman here that the Rangers and the Indians are the favorites. Both of these teams trail their division leader by 1.5 games and are in the thick of the Wild Card race. A pitcher like Matt Garza could easily erase the deficits they both have.

Heyman said it best, the Rangers have had tons of injury issues so they could use some stability in the rotation. While the Indians just need that top of the rotation type guy.

Texas is getting strong performances in its rotation lately from Martin Perez to go along with Derek Holland, and it is expected that Yu Darvish and Alexi Ogando will be back soon, but there’s still uncertainty regarding the timing of the returns of Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison, leaving Texas dependent lately on several young starters. The Rangers have used 23 pitchers overall and have seven hurlers on the disabled list.

The Indians are satisfied with their depth but seek to add a top-of-the-rotation starter, a tall order in this market, especially since Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo isn’t pitching to his past performance. The Red Sox are said to be concentrating on the pen even after adding lefty Matt Thornton, but Buchholz’s health could determine their eventual focus.(Jon Heyman – CBS Sports)

I think there is a dark horse, that’s not really a dark horse, could surprise everyone and that’s the Red Sox. Their bullpen has not been good in 2013 so that’s clearly their focus at the moment but that might change fast. There is still a lot of concern about Clay Buchholz and his shoulder.

Buchholz hasn’t pitched in the bigs since June 8th and is still struggling with the bursitis in the shoulder. Just two days ago the team had to push off his rehab assignment so they could continue to work on arm strength with him. That’s not a good sign. If he has any issues over the next week or two, the Red Sox could become major buyers in a hurry.

I have no doubt in my mind that the Sox would be willing to pay top dollar for Garza’s service too. Again he’s been tested in the East and after missing the playoffs last season you know they’ll be looking for any edge to stay in the lead of that division. The only question would be can the Sox and Theo agree?

The next ten days will be very interesting in the Garza sweepstakes. They’ll be a lot of talk between clubs at the All-Star break about him but it will probably come down to the injury situation in the rotations of contenders.

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