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Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Trade deadline talk: Matt Garza

By Richard Durrett

We've talked about some of the bigger names that could be out on the trade market -- Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke (who is not making his next start to get a break, apparently) and Justin Upton, for example -- and the Texas Rangers are doing their due diligence and scouting all of them. But there could be other names out there too. So in the next few days we'll look at some of those as well and why they may or may not make sense for Texas.

Today's player: Matt Garza

The 28-year-old right-handed starter is under contract through the 2013 season as arbitration eligible, so instead of trading for a rental player, any club that acquires Garza would have him next year also. He has thrown at least 184 innings each of the last four seasons and at least 198 innings each of the past three years. He's thrown 100 2/3 innings in 17 starts this season.

Garza is coming off one of his best starts of the season, throwing seven shutout innings against Arizona with one walk and seven strikeouts Sunday. It was a much better effort than his first July start, when he allowed five runs on five hits in four innings with three homers along with three walks and six strikeouts.

Garza is not Hamels or Greinke. But he'd be a middle-of-the-rotation starter whose numbers would likely improve with a better offense (and defense) behind him. He had a 6.86 ERA in May, but improved on that with a 3.72 ERA in six June starts, which included five quality starts. He's got 93 strikeouts and 30 walks in 100 2/3 innings.

The Rangers have been interested in Garza in the past. They looked into him most recently at the Winter Meetings in Dallas last December. And they were interested when he was with Tampa Bay in 2010.

Even though he has another year of team control left, Garza shouldn't cost the price that Hamels or Greinke would in terms of prospects. The question is whether Garza represents a big enough upgrade to justify trading some solid prospects in return. Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt aren't on the table when it comes to Garza, I wouldn't think. Could a package of prospects not including those two get it done? According to ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine, the Cubs want young pitching and would love a third baseman. Even without Olt in the deal, the Rangers have young pitching prospects they could deal.

I'm intrigued by the idea that Garza would be under team control through next season, but he's not the huge impact pitcher that some of the others on the market are at this point. In other words: Can he make a big enough difference to justify dealing away a solid prospect or two? That doesn't mean the Rangers shouldn't consider him, but the price has to be just right for a deal like that one.

Are you interested in Garza? Is is worth shipping away some prospects -- not Olt or Profar, but maybe a solid one or two -- to stick in the rotation now and in 2013?