2012 is here and Matt Garza is still a Chicago Cub. Though, the belief is that Garza will be dealt at some point this winter. The Chicago Cubs are in serious discussions on a Garza trade with three teams, but a total of five teams remain interested in the Cubs’ starting pitcher. The three teams that likely have the most serious interest in Garza are the Toronto Blue Jays, Miami Marlins, and Detroit Tigers. Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees are bringing up the rear in the Garza sweepstakes.
While the Marlins do have a serious interest in Garza, it seems unlikely that they would be able to match what the Cubs are looking for in a Garza trade. If Garza is traded this winter–which seems likely–it will either be to the Tigers or the Blue Jays. The Cubs are seeking one or two young starting pitchers in any Garza trade, both the Tigers and the Blue Jays can provide the Cubs with that need. The best pitching prospect between the two-teams is Tigers’ farm-hand Jacob Turner. The Blue Jays are said to be dangling highly touted prospect Kyle Drabek as part of a package for Garza, but the belief is that the Tigers would pin themselves as the front runners if they are willing to include Turner as part of their trade package for Garza.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Tigers are telling teams that they are willing to trade Turner in a deal for a top-tier pitcher. Up to this point–after failed attempts to land Gio Gonzalez before he was traded to the Washington Nationals–the Tigers have only been linked to the Cubs’ Garza. One would infer from Olney’s tweet that the Tigers are willing to part with Turner in a trade for Garza. If that is the case, I would not be surprised if the Cubs and Tigers finalize a Garza trade this week.
Of all the prospects rumored as a possible return for Garza, Turner is by far the best one. Turner was the ninth overall selection in the 2009 MLB amateur draft, and made his major league debut with the Tigers in July of 2011. Prior to the 2011 season, Turner was ranked #21 on Baseball America’s list of top 100 prospects. Before his promotion to the major league level in July, Turner spent the 2011 season with the Tigers’ double-A and triple-A affiliate. Turner pitched to a record of 4-5 with an ERA of 3.44 in 20 starts to go along with 110 strikeouts and only 35 walks on those two levels. With the Tigers, Turner started 3 games posting an ERA of 8.53.
Turner would not be the only prospect being sent to the Cubs, but he would definitely be the main piece in the Cubs’ return for Garza. There is also rumors going around that the Tigers and Cubs may expand the Garza trade to include young starting pitcher Rick Porcello being sent to the Cubs in addition to Turner. In such a scenario, a prospect from the Cubs’ farm system would likely be sent with Garza to Detroit. Credit Cubs Den with dropping that information.
The Tigers and Cubs appear to be trying to iron out the remaining details in a potential Garza trade. Though, with the Tigers now willing to part with Jacob Turner, that may accelerate the process. However, having now been a witness to how president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer operate, the pair of executives will likely go over every scenario before they pull the trigger on a Garza a trade.