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MLB Rumors: Indians among many teams vying for Matt Garza

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.

Per ESPN Insider’s Buster Olney:

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.

[Related: The Diff: Building the Cleveland Indians’ 2014 rotation]

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  • JHop

    As nice of a signing as Garza would be, the Indians need to shoot for the moon and attempt a trade for Cliff Lee. Not only would it be a nice storyline to have him return to the team, but Lee + Masterson would be one of the more dangerous pitching combos in the AL for years to come.

  • ToxicToast

    While I’d be very glad to have Garza in Cleveland, I’d much rather see them make a deal for someone who can give multiple years of service like Yovanni Gallardo or Bud Norris. If Garza truly does have this many teams after him, he’s going to cost us a ton anyway.

  • JacobWFNY

    As risky and as much as either pitcher might cost in a return, I’d actually prefer Garza for a few reasons. Let’s see:

    1) He’s younger. Garza is 29 (11/26/83) and Lee is 34 (8/30/78).

    2) He’s FAR cheaper. Garza is due $10.25 mil this year, then a free agent. Likely, he’ll warrant a $14-18 mil/year deal for 3-5 years in FA. Lee is due $25 mil this year, then $25 mil/year the next two years plus a $27 mil vesting option for 2016.

    3) He has half the mileage. Garza, a much higher pedigree pitcher who’s always been this good, has 1,084.1 career MLB innings. Lee, who became an ace suddenly in 2008, has 1,978.0 career MLB innings.

    So yeah. Both will cost a lot. But I’d rather go with the cheaper, more flexible target. Lee has been conceivably better and more dependable over the last 3-5 years. But what about the next 3-5 years? I’d likely go for Garza.

  • JacobWFNY

    Great point. That’s the over-arching worry with Garza. But could/should the Indians be interested in a rental regardless just for 2013? Perhaps. :)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Mentioned a Garza like addition few weeks ago I just can’t see the Indians being able to afford him both monetarily and in what it would cost in return.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Gallardo has struggled badly this season would be a steal. Norris wouldn’t be shabby however.

  • saggy

    I would like Lee because:

    1. He’s going to the Hall of Fame and Garza is not.

    you want to win, you gotta pay.

  • saggy

    Gallardo has struggled because he isn’t that good. I always have this argument every year with people. I always compare him to AJ Burnett and folks say how much better Gallardo is. Check the numbers – especially this year.

    I like Bud Norris better than him, as Toxic Toast mentioned.