Leading up to, and then after, Matt Garza’s most recent start – a dominating effort in Milwaukee on Thursday, chatter about Garza as a trade piece increased exponentially.
- Given that uptick, Nick Cafardo reports that, according to two big league sources, Garza is expected to be moved sooner rather than later – i.e., well before the July 31 Trade Deadline. An NL GM told Cafardo, “There’s a lot of competition for [Garza]. I think Theo is getting inundated with calls for him, so he’s probably the hot name.” I doubt the Cubs move Garza before the All-Star break unless they get an absolutely ridiculous deal … but as the rumors heat up, I now think that’s a real possibility. I’d still probably bet on Garza being dealt after the break (and after Ricky Nolasco is moved), but nothing would surprise me at this point.
- Cafardo mentions the Orioles as a particularly good fit for Garza, and …
- Among a group of names (which includes Scott Feldman), the Orioles are now considering Matt Garza, according to the Baltimore Sun. The issue for the Orioles in a deal for Garza, for example, is going to be the difficulty in matching up in value. The Orioles aren’t going to deal top pitching prospect Kevin Gausman, and they probably aren’t going to deal big-time pitching prospect Dylan Bundy, who set to have Tommy John surgery (though I don’t know that the surgery would necessarily scare the Cubs off from a talent like Bundy). From there, the system is a smattering of interesting types, but no one that obviously stands out as a headliner fit in a Garza deal.
- Indeed, Jon Heyman reports that the Orioles’ interest in Garza has ticked up after previously being lukewarm, but they believe the price is too high right now. Given the Orioles’ system, I’ve got to believe that they have been given the impression that the Cubs are going to want one of Gausman or Bundy in a Garza deal – otherwise I’m not sure I see how they could conclude the price was too high, given what they have.
- San Diego beat writer Bill Center chatted with Padres fans on Friday, and Garza’s name came up frequently. Center says Garza, together with Orioles pitcher Jake Arrieta, are the two pitchers he hears most connected to the Padres, adding that the Padres are more in on Garza than Ricky Nolasco. He says that the price for pitching at the deadline is going to be “sky high,” and as many as seven teams are in on Garza. (I suspect it’s more than that.) Recall, San Diego was the destination in the first solid Garza rumor of the season.
- Jon Morosi reports that, although the Giants would like to acquire a multiyear pitcher, they do have interest in Garza. The Giants are also looking for an outfielder.
- The Rockies are “aggressively” scouting starting pitchers, including Garza, according to the Denver Post. The Rockies are interested in Kevin Gregg, too, so they might want to try and grab a package at the Chicago Cubs Store. On prospects, though, I’m not sure how well the two teams line up – the Cubs are looking for impact pitching prospects, and that is definitely not the Rockies’ system strength.
- Paul Swyden at FanGraphs took note of the rising Garza stock, but dug into something we’d noted over the past couple weeks: yes, Garza’s last three starts have been dominant, but they’ve come against the Astros, Mets, and Brewers. And they came on the heels of arguably the worst start of Garza’s career, which was against a very good Reds team. Swyden’s piece downplays the importance of those three successful starts, and contends that, because of Garza’s injury history and his career numbers (which are good, but not Number Two material), a team trading for him should not expect that they’re getting the apparent stud that faced the Astros, Mets, and Brewers. It’s fair to raise that flag of caution, but it’s also fair to note that beating up on bad teams is something good pitchers do – you can’t punish them for it. And the truth is, a handful of dominant starts probably won’t jack up Garza’s value so much as it will simply convince interested teams that he’s as healthy and effective as he’s ever been (and the opinions on that effectiveness might vary among teams). So, if you were inclined to want him before, you probably feel justified in going hard after him now.