Another Ray of Hope for 2011? Matt Garza Rumor

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The Cubs Hot Stove is still cooking after the Carlos Pena deal was officially announced earlier this morning. Bruce Levine is reporting from a source that the Cubs are interested in SP Matt Garza of the Rays as well. Garza is reportedly being made available as the Rays try to trim their $70 plus million payroll in 2010. However, the Rays are not in a fire sale mode as they have been able to be postseason contenders over the last few years. Their formula for success has been the development of young prospects and they may continue to feed their farm system by seeing what prospect offers may be out there for Garza.

The Rays number two starter is in line for an arbitration encouraged pay raise from his $3.35 million salary last year, a bump that would work against Tampa Bay’s attempt to cut payroll. The Rays do have depth in the rotation, although the average baseball fan may not be familiar with the names that fill out the Rays rotation behind David Price and Garza. Jeremy Hellickson was a late season call up for the Rays in 2010, shined as a starter during the month of August, and could very easily help fill in the starting rotation if Garza is dealt.

However, with Garza still under team control through the 2013 season, and him not necessarily being the only contract the Rays can look to move to meet their budget for 2011 (SS Jason Bartlett is another name floating around for other teams at the Winter Meetings), the prospect price for him will be high. With the loss of Carl Crawford, the Rays could be looking to bolster their prospect depth in the OF. Would Jim Hendry and Cub fans be willing to part with Tyler Colvin or Brett Jackson as part of the package going to Tampa Bay for Garza?

The Rays also have a hole at 1B now that the Cubs signed away Pena. Unfortunately the Cubs do not have minor league depth of their own at 1B unless the rumored deal for the Rangers 1B rookie Chris Davis is completed to flip Davis to the Rays. Other than that, the Cubs do have overall depth in terms of talent in the farm system that our minor league writer Luke has highlighted over the last few weeks that could be included into a favorable package for the Rays.

Stay tuned to Cubbies Crib for the latest news and rumors as the Winter Meetings kick into another gear with the final day quickly approaching.