On Friday night while prospect Junior Lake was making his major league debut, it seemed like Matt Garza was going to be packing his bags for Arlington. The Cubs and Rangers had a deal set in place, and got to the point of swapping the medical records of all the players trading sides. After looking at all the records, the Cubs were concerned about one of the players they were to receive. By the end of the night, the deal fell through.
And thus, the wait to see who wins the Matt Garza sweepstakes continues.
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza. (Photo Credit: Tom Gannam/AP Photo)
It’s not like Garza isn’t used to this song and dance. He has been involved in trade rumors since the Cubs first acquired him back in January of 2011. Some players the Cubs traded away to get him include starting pitcher Chris Archer (who recently threw his first career shutout), and outfielder Sam Fuld (who has his own highlight reel of defensive plays).
So now that Garza-fest 2013 has resumed, which teams are the ones looking to make a move?
One team that is in the hunt is the Texas Rangers. That’s right. They’re not giving up yet (which is something you can’t help but admire, if you’re into that kind of thing). And why should they? They have been the closest team to acquire the right hander. They have a lot of young talent in their farm system, which is what the Cubs are looking for.
One of the players rumored to be in the original deal is Mike Olt, who is regarded as one of the top third base prospects in the game. While the Cubs are getting good production from Luis Valbuena and Cody Ransom this year, they are going to need a plan for the future. They have Josh Vitters in the minor leagues, but he doesn’t look to be a guy who can produce solid numbers on a daily basis in the bigs (just look at his big league numbers from last year). Though he didn’t do very well last year either, Olt looks to be a guy with more upside. A player who can fill the hole at third base, which appears to be wide open for a few years before draft pick Kris Bryant reaches the show.
Another team that looks to have gained in Garza is the Boston Red Sox. Boston’s bullpen needs have been apparent all season (though look to be getting better), but they have had a hole in their starting rotation since the injury of Clay Buchholz, who had been pitching like an ace all season long. Garza has previous experience dealing with AL East teams, and could help lead Boston to a division championship.
After that, the list of hopefuls go on. Some teams that have been previously reported to have interest include Oakland (which could have been a move to mess with division rival Texas’ head), Baltimore (who are now back in the running after already acquiring Scott Feldman from the Cubs), as well as NL Central rivals Pittsburgh and St. Louis. The last two have been rumored as ‘sleepers’ in the Garza race, but there hasn’t been much more than that reported.
With the trade deadline just ten days away, you can surely expect buzz and deals to increase. Wherever Garza ends up, the deal that took him away will be talked about for years to come. Whether that talk is positive or negative for Cubs fans, depends completely on how the players received for him pan out.