Now that Ricky Nolasco, the most obvious trade candidate in baseball, was traded from the Miami Marlins to the Los Angeles Dodgers for three minor league pitchers over the weekend, it’s time to focus on the next-most likely player to be traded, where he could end up and what the price tag will be.
Right-hander Matt Garza is pitching as well as he ever has, and the timing couldn’t have been better for the Chicago Cubs. Already expected to be one of the top available targets on the trade market, the 29-year-old has given his trade value an even bigger boost with four consecutive dominant starts (37 IP, 4 ER, 23 H, 8 BB, 34 K).
Not only does Garza appear fully healthy after missing the first month-and-a-half of the season with a strained lat muscle, he looks like he’s ready to step into the front of a rotation for a contending team.
And there’s no shortage of interest.
There were scouts from 12 different teams at his start last week, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago-Sun Times. It’s very likely that Garza has pitched his way out of the price range of at least a few interested teams.
Amid reports from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that the Cubs and Garza have had talks regarding a multi-year extension, the feeling is that he'll still be traded. In an ideal world, they'd acquire two very good prospects for Garza and then sign him to a multi-year deal in the offseason to re-join Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood in the Cubs rotation.
Here are five teams that are likely to have the most interest and also are capable of putting together a strong enough trade package to make a deal.