The Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays have emerged as the front-runners to complete a trade with the Chicago Cubs for starting pitcher Matt Garza, ESPN.com's Bruce Levine reported on Sunday. CBS' Jon Heyman also reported that Garza has been informed by the Cubs that he will likely be traded, even though they had reportedly been discussing a long-term contract with him.
The 29-year-old Garza, who has been injury prone especially over the past year, remains the lone front-line starter available ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. He has also drawn interest from the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, and St. Louis Cardinals, among others.
"He is throwing the ball extremely well, and he is very healthy," Cubs general manager Theo Epstein said on Friday, via ESPN. "There are teams out there looking for pitching that are going to call and try and acquire him. He is helping us win games right now, and there is a chance to possibly retain him beyond this year. We will just balance it all out and do what is best for the organization.
In 11 starts this season, Garza is 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA with the Cubs. He has 62 strikeouts to just in 71 innings pitched. Despite a flurry of injuries to their pitching staff, the Rangers sit tied atop the American League Wild Card standings and just 1.5 games back of the Oakland Athletics in the AL West. The Blue Jays are 8.5 games behind the Rangers — and 12 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East.