Miami Marlins: Is Plan to Obtain Pitchers Matt Garza and Wandy Rodriguez?

James BondmanCorrespondent IJanuary 1, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 07: Starting pitcher Matt Garza #17 of the Chicago Cubs delivers to a Washington Nationals batter at Nationals Park on July 7, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Marlins continue their grueling search for a starting pitcher in a new calendar year and the latest rumor surrounding the team is their "serious interest" in Cubs starter Matt Garza.

But in a pitching-hungry market, they aren't alone. The Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, and Toronto Blue Jays are also intrigued by the 28 year old right hander who is under team control for two more seasons (through 2013), albeit under arbitration conditions.

Marlins beat writer Juan Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel made an interesting point, saying that the team could in theory trade for Garza and try to dangle Nolasco out to teams who still crave a starter. He likens Nolasco to Garza, the main difference being Nolasco has his occasional head-scratching outings which inflate his overall numbers.

I'd agree somewhat especially by looking Nolasco's 2008 season where he had a 15-8 record, 3.52 ERA, and 1.10 WHIP in 212 1/3 innings. Since then, Nolasco has never reached each of those milestones and according to Rodriguez, the Marlins had lost their patience with the 29 year old.

In either case, both pitchers are attached to their teams for the 2012 and 2013 seasons under similar financial conditions (Nolasco has $20.5 million left on his deal and Garza is scheduled to get $9-10 million in arbitration for 2012) and it would seem odd to spend valuable prospects on one pitcher and keep another who is of similar caliber but who hasn't lived up to expectations.

Can the Marlins pull off a trade for Garza?

David Kaplan of Comcast Sportsnet Chicago says the Cubs' asking price is "incredibly high."

The Red Sox and Yankees have seem to have lost steam because they aren't willing to move the certain players needed to get a deal done. The frontrunners are the Blue Jays and Tigers, who have made it known they will deal their top pitching prospects Kyle Drabek and Jacob Turner respectively.

The Marlins don't have the top-notch pitching prospects, but do have position players. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports mentioned that top prospect Christian Yelich would likely be Chicago's top target in discussions. Players that the Marlins are reportedly willing to move in trades include first baseman Gaby Sanchez (the Cubs have a vacancy at first), third baseman Matt Dominguez (the Cubs lost Aramis Ramirez), outfielder Chris Coghlan and relief pitcher Jose Ceda, who the Marlins obtained in the Kevin Gregg deal from the Cubs.

The Tigers missed out on Gio Gonzalez because they weren't willing to include third baseman Nick Castellanos or Drew Smyly with Turner in a package deal. The Cubs will almost certainly ask for Turner to be paired with one of those to get a deal done.

For the Blue Jays, it comes down to whether they deal guys such as Noah Syndergaard or Deck McGuire in a package for Garza.

So what will it take for the Marlins? A package of Christian Yelich, Gaby Sanchez, Chad James, Jose Ceda and Chris Volstad could seal it.

As for Wandy Rodriguez, if the Marlins agree to swallow his remaining contract and deal Matt Dominguez with Brad Hand, they could acquire his services. Rodriguez, 32, would have three years and $36 million left if traded.

A rotation of Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Matt Garza, Wandy Rodriguez, and Anibal Sanchez would be solid enough to be considered a threat for the Wild Card. With Miami having made plays this offseason in free agency, don't be surprised if the Marlins go all in by trying to make something similar to this happen.