July 5, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza (22) pitches in the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Los Angeles Dodgers Interested In Matt Garza

July 5, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza (22) pitches in the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

The Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers have been discussing a trade. That is no surprise as the two teams have been discussing a trade since the early days of June. That is because that Dodgers have a strong interest in starting pitcher Ryan Dempster, and are believed to be the front-runners to land Dempster before the July 31 trade deadline.

Lost in all the rumors circling Dempster, the Cubs and the Dodgers is the fact that the Cubs are also trying to trade starting pitcher Matt Garza as well. While Dempster is having the better season than Garza, the belief is that Garza will fetch the Cubs more talented prospects than Dempster will. Though, in either case, the Cubs are probably going to receive one or two top prospects if they decided to trade both Dempster and Garza.

Most of Garza’s trade interest generates from the American League East division. The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and Toronto Blue Jays all have an interest in trading for Garza. It is believed that both the Yankees and Red Sox have the most interest in Garza. The Red Sox are looking to trade outfielder Ryan Sweeney, and as I mentioned yesterday, there is a belief that Sweeney is being used as a throw in prospect in the Red Sox trade package for Garza. The Yankees interest in Garza dates back to when Garza was on the Tampa Bay Rays and was able to succeed in the competitive American League East division.

But before we give Garza a Yankee hat or Red Sox hat, lets not count out a National League team just yet. Specifically, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that while the Dodgers are indeed the front-runners to land Dempster, the team has discussed a potential Garza trade with the Cubs as well.

It would make sense that the Dodgers would have interest in Garza. With a new ownership group and young nucleus of players, the 27 year old Garza could become a main-stay in the Dodgers rotation to go along side Clayton Kershaw. But knowing how Dodgers’ general manager Ned Colletti does his dealings, it is no surprise that the Dodgers have put a priority on Dempster. Whether is has been Casey Blake or Manny Ramirez, Colletti has placed a high value on veteran players that are available at the trade deadline. High enough value that Colletti generally overpays in terms of prospects if the piece he is looking to acquire can push the Dodgers’ contending efforts forward. In a season in which the Cubs have placed a priority on acquiring talented prospects, that should be something that Theo Epstein takes not of.

Whether it is Garza or Dempster, there is a good chance that Dodgers’ top prospect Zach Lee joins the Cubs if the two teams decide to make a trade. Lee is a right handed starting pitcher that was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round of the 201o first year player draft. Lee entered the 2011 season being ranked #89 on Baseball America’s list of top 100 prospects. During that season, Lee posted a record of 9 and 6 to go with an ERA of 3.47 with the Dodgers’ Class A affiliate. Lee then made a jump in the Baseball America rankings and ranked #62 on the list of top 100 prospects. Lee has struggled somewhat this season as the starting pitcher has pitched to a combined record of 2 and 4 to go along with an ERA of 4.67 while making 12 starts for the Dodgers high-A affiliate and then 3 starts with the Dodgers double-A affiliate.

The Dodgers may have some degree of interest in Garza, but when all is said and done, Dempster will likely be the one to join the Dodgers before July 31.

Tags: Chicago Cubs Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Garza Ryan Dempster Zach Lee