2013 MLB Trade Deadline: With Ricky Nolasco Trade, Matt Garza Moves Into Spotlight

MLB Trade Rumors
MLB Trade Rumors
Jun 21 2013 Chicago IL USA Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza 22 pitches against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Wrigley Field David Banks USA TODAY Sports

Following a slew of MLB Trade rumors, the Los Angeles Dodgers finally landed pitcher Ricky Nolasco over the weekend. Nolasco was secured for the price of three young pitchers – potential starter Angel Sanchez and two relievers, Steve Ames and Josh Wall.

He’s not a great player, but Nolasco was one of the most sought after pitchers out there since finding veteran starters this time of year is hard to do. And the fact is that while he’s not a guy you want at the top of your rotation, he’s very capable of holding down a spot in the middle or at the tail end. This season, he’s only 5-8, but his 3.85 ERA is solid and his 90 strikeouts in 112 innings are a bit better than average. And over his past nine starts dating back to the middle of May, Nolasco has been very good. In seven of those contests, he’s given up no more than three runs in over five innings of work. Four times, he’s been flat out dominant, giving up a total of five runs in 29 2/3 innings in those outings.

So with Nolasco off the board, who might be the next significant starting pitcher to be moved? Possibly Matt Garza of the Chicago Cubs. Garza has drawn a ton of interest according the rumor mills and there’s even speculation that Monday could be his final start for the Cubs.

Garza will likely draw more in return than Nolasco did. This season, he’s 4-1 with a 3.45 ERA and there’s been more chatter surrounding him. He was actually on the Dodgers’ radar along with Nolasco as I wrote about recently, but according to ESPN’s Jim Bowden, Los Angeles wasn’t interested in the higher price tag in terms of prospects.

One of those teams keeping an eye on him is reportedly the Washington Nationals. And after Ross Detwiler experienced some discomfort during a bullpen session over the weekend, that interest could become even stronger.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post says the Nats are interested in the pitcher and that the team has inquired about him in the past. Their level of interest right now appears to be on the exploratory level, but considering their past curiosity with him plus the Dodgers’ acquisition of Nolasco, those talks could heat up. The Nats also were one of several teams that had a scout on hand to see one of his last starts at the end of June. Other teams present? The Dodgers, Phillies, Orioles, and Blue Jays.

Meanwhile, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says the Texas Rangers are interested in Garza as well. And like the Nationals, they’ve had prior intrigue with Garza, nearly grabbing him at last year’s trade deadline with a deal nearly going down. Plus, with starter Nick Tepesch going to the disabled list this weekend, Texas’ need could be greater than ever.

Another club with potential interest could be the Cleveland Indians, speculates Sheldon Ocker for the Beacon Journal. As Ocker points out, Cleveland is a team that could use another starter and while they may not want to give up a ton for a potential rental player, the Indians might feel the need to do something to get into the playoffs.

Garza is no guarantee to be dealt, but the bet here is that he’s moved while Chicago can get something for him before he hits free agency after this year.

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Anson Whaley
Anson Whaley is a freelance writer with more than 16 years of experience. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and a current member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). Mr. Whaley has also been a credentialed member of the media for various events. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+'://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');