MLB Trade Rumors: Why Matt Garza Would Save the Red Sox's Season

Tom FitzContributor IIIJuly 19, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 15:  Starting pitcher Matt Garza #22 of the Chicago Cubs delivers the ball against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field on July 15, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Diamondbacks 3-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Matt Garza. The name might be driving you crazy right now. We keep hearing it. We keep hearing the names “Boston Red Sox” and “Garza” attached to each other in trade rumors.

But there is a reason we keep hearing it. If you believe in the old cliché "where there’s smoke there’s fire," there is a raging inferno behind trade rumors involving Garza.

There are good reasons for the rumors. He is available on the trade market, and on any given day has ace-like stuff. I know, he is not an ace. He’s more of a middle-of-the-rotation-type pitcher. But he could be the cement that holds Boston’s rotation together.

In short, I believe trading for Garza would save Boston’s season.

Yes, there are many other players who could save it—but Garza is the best choice among players with solid rumors behind them.

Ken Rosenthal of says the Red Sox have interest in Ryan Dempster but goes on to write:  

The Red Sox, according to a source, maintain equal or greater interest in Cubs right-hander Matt Garza.

There are many strong feelings surrounding any deal for Garza, especially since he won’t come cheap, but let me make my case for him and I’ll never mention his name again.

First of all, for anyone against the idea of trading for a rental player, like Dempster would be, Garza would be under Boston’s control through next season. One aspect I love about a potential Garza deal is his ability to bring the Red Sox an extra draft pick.


According to Tim Dierkes of, "A team acquiring Garza can enjoy him for the rest of 2012 and all of 2013 and then receive a draft pick as compensation if he departs as a free agent."

That fact also makes him pricier on the trade market. The price would be high, yes, but how high really?

According to Bruce Levine of, "The Cubs are looking for young pitching in return for Garza and would love a third baseman they can develop for the future as well." 

So the Cubs want young pitching (no surprise) and a third baseman. But what level of prospect are we talking about?

Let’s look to the Texas Rangers for an idea.

The Rangers have also shown interest in Garza. Richard Durrett of does not believe they would have to give up Jurickson Profar or Mike Olt (Texas’ top prospects) for Garza.  

In January, Baseball America had Olt as the Rangers' fourth-best prospect, and had Profar as their second-best prospect (only behind Yu Darvish). 

Does that mean the Red Sox could hold onto some of their coveted youngsters (namely Matt Barnes, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley) and still get Garza? I think it does.

I know we don’t live in a land of candy and gum drops—it will take a substantial prospect to land Garza—but if the Red Sox can pull off a trade for Garza without giving up one of those three prospects, the Red Sox are already ahead on the deal.


Plus, Garza is only 28 years old himself.

Garza also knows the AL East and has proven he can handle the pressures of pitching in Boston or New York.

In the three years he spent with the Tampa Bay Rays he went 34-31, with a 3.86 ERA and struck out 467 hitters in 592.1 innings pitched. He also tossed six complete games with three of those being shutouts.

Mike Cole of notes, "He's 7-4 with a 3.73 ERA in 19 career appearances versus Boston. Just as impressive is his 5-3 career record at Fenway Park."

You also have to love his attitude. Garza stated, “The AL East doesn't scare me a bit.” (h/t NESN)

Garza’s numbers don’t scream out at you. This season he is 5-7, with a 4.02 ERA.

But his numbers are trending the right way. After a May where he went 0-2 with a 6.86 ERA, he righted the ship and went 2-3 with a 3.72 ERA in June.

On July 15, he threw seven shutout innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks and had seven strikeouts and only walked one batter.

Don’t let his win-loss record deceive you. The Cubs have only scored 342 runs this season. Only the San Diego Padres are worse (336 runs).


To put that in perspective, the Red Sox have scored 465 runs this season. The most in all of baseball. (h/t ESPN)  

Imagine what Garza’s record would be with any kind of run support at all.

Now imagine a rotation that looks like this:

Josh Beckett

Jon Lester

Matt Garza

Clay Buchholz

Felix Doubront/Aaron Cook/Daisuke Matsuzaka (Actually, after Wednesday's win, Doubront should really be the only one considered as the fifth starter)


Garza is an immediate upgrade for the Red Sox. That is a playoff-bound rotation.

The trade rumors surrounding Garza will continue to burn at a ferocious rate until the July 31 trade deadline. Many of those rumors will include the Red Sox and Garza. If the price is right, the Red Sox should pull the trigger for the man who is not afraid of the AL East.