Will Monday be Garza's last Cubs start?

July, 7, 2013
7/07/13
1:56
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Matt Garza likely could be making his final start for the Chicago Cubs on Monday against the Chicago White Sox.

The Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox , and San Francisco Giants recently have had scouts watching the 29-year-old pitcher and a number of contenders have already put in bids, according to major league sources.

[+] EnlargeMatt Garza
AP Photo/Tom GannamMatt Garza is a hot commodity after four straight strong starts.
Garza has been putting up unbelievable numbers. In his last four starts Garza has an ERA under 1.00, allowing just three runs with 28 strikeouts in 30 innings.

Garza can elect free agency this November and that fact alone may impact how many prospects the teams will be willing to offer for a two-month rental of Garza’s services.

The Cubs’ younger stars have learned to deal with the trading deadline as a reality of a rebuilding organization. After witnessing a dismantling of the team last July, the drill began again last week when starter Scott Feldman was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles for pitchers Jake Arrietta and Pedro Strop.

“We didn’t even get to say goodbye to Scott,” Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija said. “People think we get this long goodbye with guys who are traded but none of us saw him. He went from being the probable starter that night to gone. The only thing you can say is it is not our call. (The management has) a plan they want to stick to. You just hope the pieces they get in return add up to the quality they give up,”

In the case of Garza, you can look at the pitcher in one of two ways. Many general managers will see in Garza a fresh arm who has only started nine games and will have the most upside on their staff if he is acquired. The flip side of the conversation is that Garza has been out with two separate injuries since July of 2012.

Garza had a sore elbow that kept him out of action the last two months of last season. Then he strained a LAT muscle on Feb. 17 and didn’t start pitching again until April.

Regardless, Garza should bring back some good young talent in the next few days or weeks ahead.

“You are not just replacing 200 innings and a 3.5 ERA but you are replacing a personality and a leader.” Samardzija said. “You have to replace that guy. A lot of times that is the hardest thing to do because you don’t always know what you are getting. You may see the guy on the field and his numbers but a lot of times you have no idea about the real character of the person they are. We know what Feldman and Garza are like and the great work ethic they have. You just hope you get that same work ethic and passion for the game in return.”

Garza is 4-1 with a 3.25 ERA so far in 2013.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Anthony Rizzo
BA HR RBI R
.285 25 59 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 59
RA. Rizzo 71
OPSA. Rizzo .907
WJ. Hammel 8
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOT. Wood 108