The New York Yankees have said they have no interest in Atlanta Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens, due to lingering concerns about his surgically repaired knee. In the interests of keeping the rumor mill churning, let's talk about another pretty good starting pitcher who might available on the trade market this offseason -- Matt Garza of the Chicago Cubs.
Reports out of Chicago indicate that new Chicago baseball boss Theo Epstein might be willing to deal the 27-year-old Garza, who formerly pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays. The Chicago Tribune writes that Epstein is "trying to see what he can get" for Garza.
If Garza is indeed available should the Yankees be interested? One would think Yankees general manager Brian Cashman would have to kick the tires on a 27-year-old who has been durable, has had success in the AL East and has a contract that runs for two more years? Garza made $5.95 million in 2011 and is arbitration eligible.
Garza can certainly pitch in the AL East, having gone 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA for Tampa Bay in 2010 before being traded to the Cubs. He has pitched at least 184 innings in each of the past four seasons. He also has postseason experience, having compiled a 2-1 record with a 3.48 ERA in five postseason starts with the Rays.
Here is what the Tribune believes would be the template to complete a Garza trade:
The Cubs would need a young arm who can have a long run in the spot of the guy whose place he took, even if he doesn't arrive for a year or two, and bodies to fill three or four of their other needs. A young third baseman who can hit for power would probably have to be the other headliner. Possibly a team could substitute a first baseman for a third baseman but you'd figure the Cubs would have to get a corner infielder.
For the Yankees, that might translate into a young pitcher not named Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances, and young infielder Eduardo Nunez. Cashman, of course, has said Nunez is not being traded. You have to believe, though, that for the right pitcher the general manager would re-consider.
Is Garza the right guy? Your thoughts, Yankees fans.