Four pitchers the Blue Jays should target in trade talks

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Apr 24, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Matt Garza (22) throws a pitch during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Garza – Milwaukee Brewers

Like Hamels, has the unenviable task of taking the ball every fifth day for a team that just isn’t destined to go anywhere in 2015. Also like Hamels, Matt Garza has struggled to start 2015, posting a 4.58 ERA, a 5.45 FIP, and is surrendering home runs at a 20% HR/FB rate.

However, the right-hander is likely due for a turnaround soon. Garza owns a career ERA of 3.83, an FIP of 3.97, and the HR/FB is significantly higher than his career mark of 9.8%. Additionally, Garza is currently posting a career-low in K/9 at 6.11 and is hemorrhaging walks at nearly double his rate over the last five seasons.

In terms of long-term price, Garza has a likely advantage over Cole Hamels in that he’s only guaranteed $25 million over the next two seasons and has an option that vests at $13,000,000 if he pitches 110 games over the guaranteed time span, isn’t on the DL by the end of 2017 and has pitched 115 innings that season. Those are significant riders to hit for that option to vest, and even if it does, it isn’t astronomically high.

Additionally, the cost to acquire Garza will be significantly lower than the cost to land Hamels. Milwaukee is likely looking for a couple of prospects to deepen their system, but won’t be steadfast on acquiring on that is close to Major League ready.

Likelihood of a deal happening:

The Blue Jays and the Brewers were able to find common ground on a deal this past winter (Adam Lind for Marco Estrada), and the Brewers have already let it be known that they are willing to listen on all players. The difference in this deal is that the return package would be centered around prospects for a rebuilding Brewers team. Even if the cost in prospects is lower, Garza represents significant injury concerns. He has not made 30 starts in a season since 2011 and hasn’t thrown 200 innings since 2010. With his peripherals declining each season since 2011, the Blue Jays would view him as too much of a gamble at this stage in his career.

Next: Mike Leake - Cincinnati Reds