As the Maholm/Johnson/Soto deals were breaking, multiple rumors popped up simultaneously about teams aggressively pursuing Matt Garza, despite his arm “injury.” Apparently, as I’d speculated, his bullpen session today – which manager Dale Sveum called “excellent” – may have turned a few teams’ heads, and caused them to reconsider their stance about picking up an “injured” starting pitcher.
First, in a report from Bruce Levine, the Blue Jays and Rangers (best. farm systems. ever.) are pursuing Garza, despite his injury. From the Rangers, the Cubs are interested in third base prospect Mike Olt (whom the Rangers are not crazy about moving). From the Blue Jays, the Cubs like low-level, high-upside pitching prospects Aaron Sanchez, Justin Nicolino, and Noah Syndergaard. I reported Ranger and Blue Jay interest in Garza all Winter long, so it isn’t terribly surprising to learn that they’re back at the table.
Then, in a report from Ken Rosenthal, the Reds – about whom we’ve heard nothing to connect them to Garza – are also in pursuit.
Recall, the Dodgers have been connected to Garza post-injury, as well.
The Cubs aren’t going to take a discounted offer to deal Garza, even after the injury, so you can expect that, if he’s dealt, it’ll be for an impressive haul.
Jayson Stark cites an executive, for what it’s worth, who says there is a “very high chance” that Garza is ultimately dealt. Stark mentions, specifically, the Blue Jays …
UPDATE: Travis Snider was just pulled from the field by the Blue Jays, and got the teammate hug/handshake treatment. So, the 24-year-old formerly-top prospect is going to be dealt somewhere. Is that relevant here? Odds are no, but, you never know. The Cubs don’t really have a spot for an outfielder, and they’ve already got a soon-to-be-24-year-old outfielder (Brett Jackson) who was pulled from his game tonight, despite there not being a place for him in Chicago (yet). The Cubs have hinted that Jackson is not being called up, by the way. Why was he pulled? We don’t know.
UPDATE 2 (at 11:34pm CT): That was fast. Snider being pulled was unrelated to the Cubs (sort of), as he’s been dealt to the Pirates for Brad Lincoln, a 27-year-old starter/reliever-tweener. Lincoln has mostly been relieving for the Pirates this year (quite well), but it’s fair to wonder if the Blue Jays might try to return him to a starting role. If so, would they still have interest in Garza?
UPDATE 3 (at 11:55pm CT): Danny Knobler also reports that the Blue Jays and Rangers are in on Garza, but says the Reds are not a very likely destination.
UPDATE 4 (at 12:26am CT): Well, it wouldn’t be a rumor if there weren’t conflicting reports. Jim Bowden says the Reds are in, as are the Blue Jays, but the Rangers are not. He adds that the Red Sox, the Braves, and the Nationals aren’t in on him, either.
UPDATE 5 (at 2:05am CT): Ken Rosenthal now says the Rangers are looking unlikely, as they’re having a hard time finding a fit with the Cubs. I would imagine that Olt or Martin Perez are the primary hold-ups there. He calls the Reds and Blue Jays “more realistic.”