MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Matt Garza and More Stars

Benjamin KleinContributor IIIJuly 22, 2013

Jul 3, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza (22) pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning at O.Co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Garza is still a Chicago Cub—for now.

The right-hander has been all over the MLB rumor mill the last few weeks, as many feel that he’s the top name on the market this summer. With less than 10 days remaining until the Major League Baseball trade deadline, there are bound to be more stories popping up about his next potential home.

Boston’s interest in acquiring Garza seems to be rising, according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe. One would presume this is because Clay Buchholz hasn’t pitched for the Red Sox since June 8 and will soon be getting a second opinion on his shoulder from Dr. James Andrews, per Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston.

The Red Sox enter Monday with the fourth-best starting rotation in baseball in terms of WAR, according to FanGraphs. But that includes Buchholz’s numbers, which were fantastic before he was placed on the disabled list. In 12 starts, the righty was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA over 84.1 innings of work.

Boston has a set of in-house options that it can use in the meantime, but if Buchholz is going to be out for the rest of the season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team go out and land a big name. The organization’s interest in Garza may be increasing, but it still seems unlikely that a deal would get done.

Garza is only under contract for the remainder of the season, and Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Boston isn’t willing to give up top prospects for a rental player. The right-hander is 6-1 on the year with a 3.17 ERA in 11 starts and would definitely aid the Red Sox’s rotation down the stretch.

We’ll soon know whether Garza steps on a plane en route to Boston or another destination or stays with the Cubs throughout the remainder of the season.

For now, here are a few updates on other notable stars who could end up getting dealt before the rapidly approaching trade deadline.


Twins Keeping Morneau?

Justin Morneau is not the player he used to be, but the first baseman could still bring a lot of value to a contender seeking a left-handed bat down the stretch. Through 89 games, the 2006 AL MVP is hitting .273/.331/.405 with seven home runs and 52 RBI. The question everyone wants answered is if he’ll be dealt or not.

In reality, there isn’t a good reason why the Twins should hang onto Morneau for the remainder of the season. His contract is expiring and Minnesota is far from contending in the AL Central. Sure, he may put some people in the seats, but the Twins could get a few valuable prospects in exchange for the veteran.

Buster Olney of ESPN reports, however, that rivals think that Minnesota doesn’t seem very inclined to moving Morneau or other Twins. This may be because the team’s owner, Jim Pohlad, wants to keep the first baseman. He told La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune that he wouldn’t feel great about Morneau getting dealt.

Another reason why Minnesota may keep Morneau throughout the remainder of the season is due to a lack of significant interest.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that teams that could be interested in acquiring him “sound cool to the idea so far.” Does that mean Morneau is definitely staying? No, but that seems likely at the moment.


Will Pence Be Moved?

Hunter Pence has been traded on or near the trade deadline in each of the last two seasons. In 2011, he was traded from the Astros to the Phillies. A year later, he was traded from the Phillies to the eventual world champion Giants. Will 2013 be the third year in a row?

Well, let’s talk it over.

Pence is a good outfielder who would be very valuable to a lot of teams in the second half. In 97 games this season, he’s hitting .263/.308/.451 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI. Heyman reports that the Pirates are one of the teams interested in landing Pence from San Francisco, as they have a problem in right field.

Pittsburgh’s right field spot has been fifth-worst in baseball this season in terms of WAR, according to FanGraphs. The Pirates are going to need just a bit of help this summer to secure a spot in this year’s playoffs, and adding Pence would certainly do the trick.

Pence, however, wants to stay with the Giants, per Jim Bowden of ESPN:

In order for any team to land Pence, the Giants are going to have to be out of the race and be overwhelmed by an offer, according to Heyman. A lot can happen in a week, but entering Monday, San Francisco is only 5.5 games behind in the division. The team would have to play horribly in order to be out of the race by July 31.


All statistics in this article were obtained via FanGraphs unless otherwise noted and are current through July 21. All contract information was obtained via Cot’s Contracts and all injury information was obtained via Baseball Prospectus.