MLB Trade Rumors: Matt Garza Trade Pros and Cons

Aaron DodgeAnalyst IJuly 8, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 30:  Matt Garza #22 of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the game against the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field on June 30, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs and Matt Garza saga will eventually see some sort of resolution this month as the July 31 MLB trade deadline grows ever nearer. 

Garza is under team control through 2013 and carries a $9.5 million price tag for 2012. These factors, combined with his past success with Chicago and Tampa Bay has at least six teams with pitching needs taking interest.

The Cubs now must ponder that interest, along with the haul of prospects they'd be sure to get from bidding clubs. Considering the prospects of keeping Garza, their undisputed top starter, is undoubtedly a priority as well.

The 2008 ALCS MVP has had an up-and-down year in 2012, in a fashion similar to his career trend. Garza has posted the lowest WHIP (1.20) of his career through 16 starts and his batting average against (.239) is his best since the 2009 season.

10 of those 16 starts have been graded as quality starts, which leads the Chicago pitching staff. However, the percentage (0.63) is only good enough for 40th in the league among qualified pitchers. 

Garza put together 25 combined wins between 2010-2011 but has a 4-7 record so far in 2012. He has only finished with more wins than losses twice in his career, carrying a 56-61 lifetime record.

In 2011, Garza posted a career-best ERA of 3.32. His 2012 ERA of 4.32 exceeds his career average of 3.88 and is his worst since 2006. The fact that he's keeping his WHIP and BAA at career low rates makes his record and ERA a bit contradicting.

That's because Garza has been victimized by the long ball this season, giving up the ninth most home runs in the NL thus far. In 93.2 innings Garza has allowed 15 home runs after only allowing 14 in 2011 when he threw 198 innings. 

He's not playing in a new stadium or adjusting to new pitching mechanics, the 28-year-old former first round pick is just playing on a bad team and simply trying to do too much. Chicago sits in the basement of the NL Central, currently tied for the league's least amount of wins. 

The Cubs will be sellers at the deadline and Garza, while difficult to predict at times, is surely going to be the topic of many discussions. There's clearly value in trading him and value in retaining him.

For Theo Esptein and Jed Hoyer in Chicago it's now about predicting exactly which option has the most value moving forward.