Right-handed starter Matt Garza may be the most popular name on the trade market, at least as far as starting pitchers go. The 29-year-old is what everyone needs at this point in the season; a proven starter that can pitch in baseball’s toughest divisions.
And he did nothing to dispel that on Monday night, throwing seven strong innings against the Chicago White Sox, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) and striking out 6 in the process.
The Toronto Blue Jays had a scout on hand for that start, according to Jon Morosi at FoxSports, but the level of their interest is yet to be seen.
That’s not to say anything against what Garza has done in a small sample size in 2013. Over his last five starts, he is 4-0 with a 0.97 ERA, a .180 Batting Average Against, and is averaging 8.27 K/9. Granted, those results have come against the likes of the New York Mets, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, and Chicago White Sox, but they are exactly what the Cubs want the world to see from Garza at this juncture.
However, Toronto’s interest may simply be due diligence on behalf of a team, that at three games below .500, is non-committal as to whether they are buying or selling.
Chasing after a two-month rental such as Garza, without being able to secure commitment on an extension, would be a risky business for Toronto. The price to secure his services from Chicago would be significant, as we’ve seen the bar already set for middling starters in the deal that sent Ricky Nolasco from the Miami Marlins to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For a top of the rotation starter of Garza’s caliber, that package would be greater, likely forcing the Blue Jays to send one of their top three pitching prospects (Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna, and Marcus Stroman), and at least one or two other significant prospects to the rebuilding Cubs. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would never let such a valuable trade chip go for any smaller of a return, and they’ll likely get what they want from one buyer or another.
That would be a heavy chunk for the team to swallow, especially after ransacking the farm system this past winter. Instead, the Blue Jays would be better served to chase someone like a Yovani Gallardo or a Cliff Less, a pitcher under contract past this season who could be a part of the 2014 plans.
It does not hurt to do your homework and dream big. However, you have to be realistic enough to not jeopardize both short and long-term goals on a foolish venture either.