As of this early evening, three General Managers were rumored to have given Rays GM Andrew Friedman a call about starting pitcher and 15 game winner Matt Garza.
While I won't reveal the names of those GMs, let's just say that fans of the Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Washington Nationals should pay attention.
The Rays have a rare luxury that most teams don't have: excess starting pitching. With the emergence and MLB-readiness of young phenom Jeremy Hellickson, the Rays can move one of their other pitchers to help off-set an offense that is set to lose All Stars Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena.
Texas could offer young first basemen such as Mitch Mooreland or Chris Davis. If they want to hold onto their younger talent, they could offer oft-injured right fielder Nelson Cruz. Washington could offer left fielder Josh Willingham or shortstop Ian Desmond.
But the Milwaukee Brewers could offer the best deal.
Enter Casey McGehee.
After trading for Toronto Blue Jays right hander Shaun Marcum, the Brewers could complete a trio of playoff-caliber starters by acquiring Garza (15-10, 3.91 ERA). And they can do it without giving up their No. 3 or No. 4 hitter.
It would hurt to lose McGehee, but hasn't it hurt missing the playoffs more?
The Brewers have seen that it takes good pitching to make it to the playoffs. And better pitching to win in the playoffs. And more than just one pitcher. With Yovanni Gallardo, Marcum, Garza, and even Randy Wolf (who pitched much better after the All Star Break, 7-4, 3.74 ERA), the Brewers would be ready to challenge the Cardinals and Reds for the division.
To make up for the loss of offense, perhaps the Brewers could expand the deal to include centerfielder B.J. Upton, in exchange for their rising 24-year-old centerfielder Lorenzo Cain. Having a 3-4-5 of Ryan Braun-Prince Fielder-B.J. Upton would be more than enough to get the job done in the NL.
As for the Rays, they would have a middle-of-the-order slugger under team control for another four seasons.
Now, yes, the Rays have some guy by the name of Longoria at third base already. But they also have a huge hole at first base, where McGehee (.285 avg, 62 extra-base hits in 2010) could slide across the diamond. McGehee and Longoria sets the Rays up at the corners for years.
Not only does this allow Friedman to rebuild on the fly, but also to still be able to compete in the AL East. And if they can acquire Cain (.306 avg, 7 SB in 43 games) for Upton, Friedman has rebuilt the Rays at two positions for players who are no longer in their long-term plans
It's the nature of the beast for the small market team.
And yet, this is a trade that helps both teams compete for a division crown.
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