After back-to-back disheartening losses to the Kansas City Royals, many Cleveland Indians fans were starting to wonder whether it was time for the team to deal for a new pitcher. Now, the biggest starting pitcher on the trade deadline market, Matt Garza, is reportedly a possible target for Cleveland.
The Chicago Cubs are making progress in their discussions about right-hander Matt Garza, and are actively talking with Texas, Boston, Toronto, Cleveland, the Dodgers and maybe Baltimore and a couple of more teams in the NL West. Right now, Garza is the belle of the ball in the trade market.
Garza, 29, is in his third season with the Chicago Cubs. He is 4-1 with a 3.45 ERA in nine starts, heating up of late. He has posted a sub-4 ERA in each of the seven years as one of the more under-rated arms in the game. He is a Super 2 free agent following the season after earning $10.25 million in his final year of arbitration in 2013. Thus, he’s a risky acquisition as a possible three-month rental.
Earlier in the week, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman listed the Tribe as the No. 2 team on the market looking for a starting pitcher. Garza was listed as the No. 1 starter most likely to go, with one sourced contact saying “he’s a goner.”
Also today, MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince wrote about the Indians organization’s thought process in “contemplating” a trade for a starter. He noted that an added reliable starter would take pressure off the much-maligned bullpen.
The Indians do have a ton of intriguing mid-level minor league prospects that could be used as bait in such a trade. Outside of when Justin Masterson takes the mound, Castrovince noted that it’s usually an adventure to see what might happen. After all of the offseason improvements by the front office, is it worth it to go all-in for a possible playoff berth in 2013 without mortgaging too much of the franchise’s future hopes?
Obviously, Ubaldo Jimenez and Corey Kluber have been much improved of late. Zach McAllister, who was likely the most consistent starting pitcher for the team, is currently expected to return in the next few weeks from his finger injury. After that? Scott Kazmir, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Brett Myers have a combined 5-12 record and 5.78 ERA in their 26 starts for the team.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.