MLB Trade Rumors: Atlanta Braves Looking at Matt Garza?

By Michael Collins

It’s no secret that the Chicago Cubs are openly shopping starting pitcher Matt Garza, and some say he’ll be dealt before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.  So far several American League East teams have been linked to Garza trade rumors, and it was reported that the Baltimore Orioles scouted Garza last week.  Garza, who pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2008-2010, would probably feel at home in the AL East.

Now the name of the Atlanta Braves has come up in mentions of trade rumors for Garza, with the possibility of sending someone like Juan Francisco or Jack Wilson to help fill the Cubs need at third base, or possibly trading pitchers Mike Minor and/or Jair Jurrjens, hoping that a fresh start could possibly help all three struggling pitchers.

The positives of a possible trade for Garza:  He’s a veteran pitcher, with experience in both leagues under his belt.  He’s only 28 years old, so he should have plenty of quality seasons left in him.  If he were to come to Atlanta and be successful, the Braves could probably afford signing him to a long-term deal, as he wont demand as much as some other starters. He’s also pitched eight complete games since 2008, so he has a durable arm.

The negatives of a possible trade for Garza:  Cubs GM Theo Epstein is going to be looking for multiple players, and possibly prospects in return for Garza, as he continues the rebuilding process in Chicago.  Garza is also known to be emotional, and when things start to go bad for him, he can crumble.  Braves GM Frank Wren may not want to look at another pitcher with a fragile psyche.  Garza is also right-handed, which means if Minor were sent to Chicago (or down to Triple-A Gwinnett) the Braves would be without a lefty in the starting rotation.  Not crucial, but still something to consider.

So far this season, Garza has an ERA of 4.04, with 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings,  and 2.6 walks per nine innings, with a W/L record of 2-5 and 9 home runs given up over 71 1/3 innings.  Not a noted improvement over what the Braves already have.  But a change of scenery, and a new team and coach could be just what Garza needs to get back on track.  Garza owns a career ERA of 3.85 and a 54-59 record over seven major league seasons.

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