Despite there being an ample trade market for his services, the Tampa Bay Rays are not as eager as once thought to move young starter Matt Garza. The Rays have no fewer than six ML-ready starting pitchers, but according to VP of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, the Rays are just fine with that.
Rays VP of baseball Andrew Friedman said during the Winter Meetings that he was going to hold on to his six starters – Garza, David Price, James Shields, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann and Jeremy Hellickson.
He said again Friday night during a conference call to announce the Jason Bartlett trade that he hasn’t changed his mind.
“I’ve said before it’s not a situation we look at like having two first basemen,” Friedman said. “We were very fortunate last year until August that all of our guys took the ball every five days. It doesn’t always happen that way. Depth on the starting pitching front is more valuable than anywhere else. At this time our focus is on making deals that fit in our short term and long term objectives, and without pinning it to anyone area, we’re always going to be open minded to something that fits that criteria. But as far as our motivation? No, that remains the same.” Rays Report.
It’s still possible that the Rays will move Garza this Winter, and the statements here could be mere posturing – particularly in light of the recent Zack Greinke trade.
But it’s also possible that we can cross Garza off the Cubs’ wish list. The two sides got to the point of exchanging names earlier this month, and a trade looked not only possible, but likely. But, according to a source, the Rays pushed for the inclusion of at least one prospect that the Cubs were simply not willing to trade (unclear exactly who that prospect was, but it may have been Hak-Ju Lee). Since then, talks have cooled considerably, and for now appear to be dead.