Detroit Tigers 2012 Trade Rumors: Matt Garza Headed to Motown?

Joe UnderhillCorrespondent IIIJanuary 10, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Matt Garza #17 of the Chicago Cubs pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 27, 2011 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images

There was more speculation recently from Chicago media outlets that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs were "down the road" in discussions regarding the Tigers acquiring Matt Garza.

First, I'm all for improving the rotation (which I think is still necessary), but not at the cost of the future, especially when the future is right around the corner.

The speculated discussions between the Tigers and the Cubs seem to center around Jacob Turner and "other top prospects."

If the Tigers weren't willing to give up Turner and third-base prospect Nick Castanellos for lefty Gio Gonzales, then I think it's safe to assume they won't give them up for Garza. reported yesterday that Dombroski and the Tigers have "no trade talks ongoing on any starting pitchers." This doesn't mean Detroit and Chicago haven't talked or may resume talking.

The Cubs want as much as possible in return for Garza, and this makes sense.

Garza is still fairly young, 28 years old going into this season. He has also been a very effective and successful pitcher.

In four full MLB seasons (he pitched in a total of 26 games in two seasons for Minnesota before being dealt to Tampa), he has thrown over 184 innings and won 44 games while posting ERAs below 4.00.

Last year, Garza posted a 10-10 record with a 3.32 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 198 innings.

Garza would indeed be a nice addition to any rotation, but at what cost?

The Cubs are said to want prospects or young major league talent, but what should the Tigers offer?

The top pitchers in the Tigers' system are (my opinion of rank) Jacob Turner, Drew Smyly, Andy Oliver, Casey Crosby, Jay Voss, Duane Below, Adam Wilk and Austin Wood.

What the Tigers need to do is see if Garza would be an upgrade over Rick Porcello.

Porcello is only 23 even though he has logged three full MLB seasons.

His career 4.54 ERA is almost three-fourths of a run higher, but he's twice won 14 games and is still improving, plus, he is still under team control (via arbitration) for several more years.

I think in the short-term, Garza is better than Porcello. (Garza is only under team control for this season and next.)

Garza is proven against teams like Boston and New York, and his lower WHIP and higher strikeout rate would be beneficial.

The Tigers most be careful, however, not to jeopardize the future by shooting for a World Series next season.

A deal of Rick Porcello, Andy Oliver, Adam Wilk and Daniel Fields for Garza and Alvaro Sosa could be mutually beneficial.

The Cubs would receive a player in Porcello who can contribute immediately and Oliver might benefit from a change of scenery, plus is close to being ready to pitch in the majors.

Wilk has shown the ability to both come out of the bullpen and start.

Fields is a player who can handle both the bat (power) and center field defensively.

The Tigers get another solid right-hand pitcher who is a three or at best a two in the rotation.

The Tigers would still need to find a fifth starter, but that could still be a veteran signed to a one-year contract or one of the young guys (Turner, Smyly, Below, Crosby).

In two years, the Tigers would have a difficult decision to make concerning Garza, but by that point, the youngsters should be ready to pick up the slack.