MLB Trade Rumors: Updating All the Latest Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster Suitors
Well, baseball fans. It's that time again. The annual post-All Star break feeding frenzy that is the trade deadline.
As July 31st approaches, playoff contenders are getting more and more involved in trade talks with sellers who are trying to stock up on prospects for the future.
Always in high demand are quality arms to bolster the rotation, especially for those teams who need depth on the staff if they are going to make a run at the playoffs.
Luckily for those teams, the Chicago Cubs are awful this year and ready to deal two of their top starting pitchers: Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster.
The latter owns a 33 1/3 scoreless innings streak, and is the hottest item on the market this side of Cole Hamels.
Here are the latest updates involving the two Cubs starters:
Teams Still in on Garza
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The interest in Garza is a little cooler than that for Dempster. Understandable, as Garza isn't putting up nearly the numbers that his teammate is. But Garza is still good for some quality starts and has pretty overwhelming stuff.
Maybe his potential, age and the smaller load of prospects it would take to get him make him so attractive to these teams:
Boston Red Sox
According to Jayson Stark on Twitter, the Red Sox are very interested in Garza, but not so much on Dempster. The Sox can use a lot of help in the pitching department these days, so any move makes sense, really. Garza would provide a significant upgrade to pretty much anyone right now not named Jon Lester.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today thinks the Tigers are in on Garza. It's been widely publicized that Detroit would like to add an arm to complement Justin Verlander and the rest of a rotation that has inconsistency written all over it. When, not if, the Tigers get back to the playoffs, it would be huge to have an arm like Garza to throw a few key games.
Nightengale also mentioned the Rangers would love to snag Garza. Well, yeah. They'd also like to get Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Ryan Dempster, Nolan Ryan, Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth.
Texas seems to be in on every free agent these days, but I understand. A true ace pitcher might redeem the last two years, come October.
Kansas City Royals
This seems more like a very weak rumor, but word is that the Royals have at least entertained the possibility of bringing a guy like Garza (via Danny Knobler of CBS' Baseball Insider) to a decimated rotation.
It would be a huge boost to an awful rotation while they wait for some of their own pitching prospects to grow up in the minors. This would likely be looking forward to 2013 contention.
New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles & Los Angeles Dodgers
I don't have any sources to link for you here—this is my gut feeling. I don't think any of them will end up with Garza (though if one of them were to snag him, I'd guess it would be the Yankees), but I'm not willing to count these three out. All of the teams need pitching desperately and two of them are absurdly rich. Time will tell!
Teams Still in on Dempster
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Dempster is really the crown jewel the Cubs are offering right now. He leads the majors in ERA and has been very good over the last few years, including a 208-strikeout campaign in 2010.
I'm a little worried about his age, injury history and increasing ERA since a career-best 2.96 in 2008, but there's no doubting that he's on fire right now and would be a great rental at the very least. These playoff contenders are certainly interested:
Los Angeles Dodgers
Dempster recently said that his preference would be to take a trade to Los Angeles (h/t msn.foxsports.com), and the Dodgers have been pursuing him extensively. And though reports indicate the Dodgers have offered the Cubs a deal, it remains to be seen if they have the prospects necessary to turn a deal. If Zach Lee isn't included, the deal still may not happen.
Ken Rosenthal seems to be unconvinced that the Braves' interest in Dempster is really so casual. He notes that they have a deep farm system to offer to the Cubs:
Interest may be waning from the National League East's first-place team, and rightfully so. You can never have enough pitching, but mortgaging future talent doesn't really seem like Washington's style. Besides, they have so much pitching depth in the rotation right now, they don't need to make a major move like this.
Just as with Garza, the Tigers are looking to give Verlander a partner in crime at the top of the rotation, and you'd have to think Dempster would be a good pairing.
However, as one GM and agent told Buster Olney, Dempster might be better off avoiding the American League altogether with free agency looming. He is better off going to a pitcher's park for the rest of the season.
New York Yankees
There have also been rumors that the interest from the Yankees is slowly lessening for Dempster, but I have a very hard time believing those. With Andy Pettitte on the DL and Freddy Garcia doing his best Hideki Irabu impression, I'd imagine the Bronx Bombers want some more quality pitching on the roster when the playoffs roll around.
Who Will Get Garza?
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This is tough—I believe that Dempster will have a bigger impact on whichever team trades for him, but Garza will come cheaper. Therefore, he very well might have more suitors as the days tick down toward July 31st.
My main reason for believing the Texas Rangers will get him is that they are desperate for someone to strengthen the rotation, and I think Cole Hamels will ultimately sign an extension with Philadelphia.
By the time that becomes official, Dempster will likely be off the market and Garza becomes the next big thing. A playoff rotation of Garza, Roy Oswalt, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish isn't exceptional, but it would be the best staff the Rangers have entered the playoffs with in the last three seasons.
Who Will Get Dempster?
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For once, my heart and brain agree: The Los Angeles Dodgers should be sealing up a trade with the Cubs for Dempster by the end of this week. Since Dempster announced his preferred change of scenery was Dodger blue-colored, it seemed to be a done deal.
I won't say he's 100 percent in right now, but the most recent rumors seem to point toward a last-minute haggle over prospects being the only remaining hurdle.
The main teams that could sneak in at the last second and snatch Dempster in the case of talks breaking off between Los Angeles and Chicago are the Braves and Tigers. Both have deeper farm systems than the Dodgers.