Matt Garza going strong as trading season looms

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

Matt Garza appears to be checking out his trade value here.
Matt Garza appears to be checking out his rising trade value here. (USATSI)

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We're just a few days from the calendar turning to July. In Major League Baseball, that means the All-Star break is right around the corner and that is followed by a few weeks of heavy trade talks. With a second wild card and a good amount of parity throughout the majors, there don't seem to be a ton of sellers just yet.

But we know the Cubs are sellers. We also have a pretty good idea Matt Garza is an obvious trade candidate. He's right in the middle of his prime at age 29, has found decent-to-good postseason success (2-1 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in five starts for the Rays), is a free agent after the season and has found his name in trade rumors ever since the Theo Epstein administration took over.

If the past few outings are any indication, Garza is bound to become a hot commodity by late July.

On Thursday afternoon in Milwaukee, Garza worked seven strong innings, giving up only one run while striking out 10. He's now 3-1 with a 3.83 ERA this season, but the latter number is badly skewed by one disastrous outing.

On June 11, the Reds tagged Garza with nine runs on nine hits. He has only had eight starts all season, so it's easy to see how that could do a number on his stats. If we remove that outing, here's Garza's line in seven starts:

3-0, 2.44 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 44 K, 44 1/3 innings

The outing obviously counts, and every team in trade talks will pay mind to it. On the flip side, one blip on the radar does not a season make and every team looking at him knows that, too.

Plus, since Garza's awful outing on June 11, he has rebounded in a big way. Here's what he's done in his three most recent starts:

2-0, 0.82 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 23 K, 22 innings

Since coming to the Cubs, Garza has been a good -- but not great -- starting pitcher. Assuming he stays healthy and keeps putting up quality starts like he has for most of the season, he's going to draw tons of interest in the last two weeks of July.

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