Is Matt Garza a Possibility for the Cubs?

According to Joe Maddon, Matt Garza will be pitching for the Rays in 2011. But according to a source of AOL Fanhouse’s Ed Price, “he is certain Rays’ right-hander Matt Garza will be traded this winter, probably to the Cubs“.

The Cubs reportedly met with the Rays for a second time on the final night of the Winter Meetings about Matt Garza. Reports indicated then that several teams are interested but the Cubs might have the best offer on the table. While Maddon must deny all rumors, Matt Garza appears to be on the market and the Cubs appear to be very interested.

Matt Garza could end up being this winter’s version of Brian Roberts and Jake Peavy or he could end up in a Cubs’ uniform. Many feel if the Cubs could come up with the right package for Garza, that one move could really help their chances of competing in the NL Central in 2011.

Matt Garza posted a 15-10 record last season with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Garza appeared in 33 games, 32 starts, and completed 204 2/3 innings … the second straight season Garza threw over 200 innings. Garza struck out 150, walked 63 and surrendered 193 hits.

Outside of Tropicana Field, Garza was 7-8 with a 4.27 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.

Garza pitched better after the break last season and posted a 5-5 record with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP … 64 strikeouts and 23 walks in 91 1/3 innings.

As far as what it would cost the Cubs …

According to Bruce Levine, the Rays are looking for near Major League ready talent, players whose arbitration clock has not started yet. Apparently the Rays are dumping salary and Garza figures to earn nearly $6 million in arbitration in 2011. The only name floated out there from Levine is Robinson Chirinos … and the Rays would want a significant package in return for the 27-year old right-hander.

Brett Jackson and Chris Archer figure to be unavailable, the same way the Cubs had no thoughts of ever moving Starlin Castro, Andrew Cashner and Tyler Colvin.

According to Dave Kaplan, “the Rays have not yet decided if they even want to move Garza” and if they do, “the price in terms of players going back would be large.”

If Garza is indeed available, do the Cubs have enough to land Garza without depleting their improving farm system? Stay Tuned …

Matt Garza’s Page on Baseball-Reference

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