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

Matt Garza Trade Rumors: Where Could He Land?

Poor Matt Garza just can’t seem to get a straight answer about his future. Frankly, it’s for a good reason.

Take a look at this write up from the good folks at MLBtraderumors.com which discusses Garza’s future as one of the “key non-moves” of 2012.

This may have been a non-move that was forced by circumstance, rather than a conscious decision by the Cubs to stand pat. Garza was the subject of many rumors heading into last July’s trade deadline and he may well been dealt had he not suffered a stress reaction in his pitching elbow in late July, an injury that sidelined him for the last two months of the season. Garza has begun throwing again and says he will be ready for Opening Day. If he’s healthy, the trade winds will undoubtedly again swirl around Wrigley Field as Garza is just a year away from free agency.

The Cubs will get lesser value for Garza now or in July than they would’ve last year (when Garza was still controllable for a full year and two months) but one wonders if the club will look to move Garza at all. The signing of Edwin Jackson was a sign that the rebuilding Cubs may be looking to contend sooner rather than later, and if Garza is healthy and effective in early 2013, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer could look to extend the righty. A trade would only be pursued if Garza indicates that he wouldn’t be willing to re-sign, or the Cubs could simply trade Garza at the deadline and then try to bring him back in free agency.

While this write up is about as bang on as it gets when it comes to a baseball publication, the case for a Garza trade to the Texas Rangers is now gaining some traction as Bruce Levine of ESPN has been mentioning them for a while now. These mentions aren’t based on published sources, they’re based on speculation and “under the table” insider knowledge.

What makes a Garza trade possible? First of all, Garza needs to prove that he’s healthy during spring training and capable of performing at the same level he showed before his elbow injury. This is vital in the process as elbow injuries on pitchers are exceedingly scary for teams and could kill his value all together. Most pitchers have a hard time recovering from these injuries as well, but Garza was given a clean bill of health from a doctor not long ago, so I’m optimistic.

The Ranger connection comes from their previous pursuits of Zack Greinke and James Shields. Both these pitchers were high priced commodities and you can assume their pursuit of pitching depth would still be going strong considering they’ve made no moves to acquire arms. Garza is a strong middle of the rotation type of pitcher and Texas could pick him up come spring training, which would add significant depth for a fraction of the cost.

Nothing is for certain (obviously) but it’s quite possible that Texas takes a shot on Garza.

That is… unless the Cubs extend him first.

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