Garza market: O's, Rangers, Giants, Padres, Dodgers, Jays and more

Cubs right-hander Matt Garza, who might be the best active pitcher currently available in a trade, is drawing considerable interest from teams in both leagues and on both coasts.

The Orioles, Rangers, Giants, Padres and Dodgers are all said by sources to have varying degrees of interest in acquiring Garza, with the Boston Red SoxBlue Jays, Red Sox (though they seem more focused on bullpen help at the moment) and several other teams seen as possible destinations for the 29-year-old.

Garza and Marlins ace Ricky Nolasco are the top two active starters on the trade market. But Garza's success in the American League gives him the edge over Nolasco.

Chicago looks like it’s going to be the Merchandise Mart of cities this trade deadline, with the Cubs now joining the White Sox as early sellers. Garza -- who is battled-tested in the tough AL East, and not to mention is very hot at the moment -- is at the heart of their trade talks.

Folks who have talked to the Cubs say they are determined that Garza will surely go for two reasons.

First, Cubs people are taking a very realistic approach to their team and understand they aren’t a contender, especially in the formidable NL Central. Second, they realized a while ago that there’s no long-term deal to be made with the free-agent-to-be Garza. In fact, Cubs brass realized this as far back as two springs ago when multiyear talks never got traction.

Garza is cooperating nicely on the field, as he has pitched brilliantly lately, having allowed just two earned runs in his last three starts over 22 innings. Overall, he is 3-1 with a 3.83 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 47 strikeouts against just 15 walks. His $10.25 million salary looks pretty reasonable.

The Cubs have quite a smorgasbord of available players, and according to one rival GM starter Scott Feldman, outfielders Nate Schierholtz, David DeJesus and Alfonso Soriano and relievers Kevin Gregg and Shawn Camp are also out there. They’ve also gotten hits on lefty reliever James Russell.

But as far as the Cubs go, Garza looks like the star du jour. He’s put concerns abut his arm to the side with very strong performances since his return from the disabled list.

The Rangers, who have had interest in Garza before, are pitching well but had been hoping to get Colby Lewis back this month, and that isn’t going to happen now.

The Orioles are seeking a veteran starter, and while they seemed lukewarm on Garza originally, he’s enhanced his status with everyone with his recent outings. He beat the Brewers 7-2 Thursday, striking out 10 in seven innings.

All the NL West teams are looking for starting pitching, with the Padres, Giants and Dodgers connected to Garza, though Los Angeles seems to be more in the mix for Nolasco.

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