Miami Marlins Join The Matt Garza Derby

The Miami Marlins have long been interested in a Chicago Cubs’ starting pitcher. Ever since Ozzie Guillen took the managerial post for the Marlins it has always been assumed that the Marlins would be interested in trading for Carlos Zambrano. Guillen and Zambrano have long been friends dating back to when Guillen was the manager of the Chicago White Sox. Guillen has gone as far as hinting multiple times this off-season that he would be interested in having Zambrano in his starting rotation. While that possibility still exists, it would seem that discussions between the Cubs and Marlins have shifted from Zambrano to another Cubs’ starting pitcher.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the Marlins are interested in trading for Garza. The Marlins have joined the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, and Detroit Tigers as the team that are currently in discussions with the Cubs regarding the Cubs’ starting pitcher. While no deal appears to be imminent, the discussions have intensified over the course of the past week and the belief is that Garza will be dealt sooner rather than later.

Having said that, it is hard to label a front-runner in the Garza sweepstakes. Neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees appear to be interested in giving up the Cubs’ demands for Garza, thus, pushing those two teams to the back of the pack. Both the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers may be the favorites to land Garza. The Cubs and Blue Jays have been in discussions on a Garza trade for most of the past two weeks and the expectation is that Blue Jays’ starting pitcher Kyle Drabek would be included in any package the Cubs’ receive from the Blue Jays for Garza. Meanwhile, in his report, Rosenthal suggests that the Tigers would have the upper-hand in the Garza derby if they include starting pitching prospect Jacob Turner in the trade.

The key in any Garza deal for the Cubs is the return. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are demanding that one or two young starting pitchers be included in the deal before they approve a Garza deal. With that knowledge, that would seem to put the Blue Jays as the best match for the Cubs’ starting pitcher. Though, the Marlins interest in Garza is serious.

For it is worth, Rosenthal mentions that 20 year old outfielder Christian Yelich is on the Cubs’ wish list from the Marlins. Yelich was the first round pick of the Marlins in 2010, and was targeted by the Oakland Athletics when the two teams were talking about a potential Gio Gonzalez trade. As it turned out, Gonzalez was traded to the Washington Nationals. Yelich has a career line of .317/.389/.482/.871 with 15 home runs and 33 stolen bases. Yelich has spent his first two seasons with the Marlins’ rookie league team in 2010, and class-A affiliate in 2011. In addition to Yelich, Rosenthal mentions first baseman Gaby Sanchez, outfielder Chris Coghlan, third baseman Matt Dominguez, and reliever Jose Ceda as other potential players the Marlins would be interested including in a Garza package. With the Cubs’ first base position being vacant, I would imagine that Epstein and Hoyer will have some level of interest in Sanchez.

Things are shaping up really nicely in the Cubs’ effort to trade Garza. Garza is the best starting pitcher available, and it would seem that at least the Blue Jays and Marlins may be willing to give up the top prospects that the Cubs are seeking. With the new year looming and Spring Training around the corner, the Cubs are likely entering the final stages of their trade discussions with other teams regarding Garza. With the high amount of interest in Garza, it is my guess that the starting pitcher will be traded at some point within the next two weeks.

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Carlos Zambrano Chicago Cubs Chris Coughlin Christian Yelich Detroit Tigers Gaby Sanchez Jacob Turner Jed Hoyer Jose Ceda Kyle Drabek Matt Dominguez Matt Garza Miami Marlins New York Yankees Ozzie Guillen Theo Epstein Toronto Blue Jays

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