Team president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer reportedly view Garza's trade prospects as their "chance to hit the jackpot," but it's unclear at the moment whether teams are willing to part with a few elite-level prospects for a half-season rental. However, if the Cubs are able to lock Garza down to a long-term contract before the deadline, it may exponentially improve their chances of getting a deal done. As one National League scout told Kaplan, "that changes the entire equation."
Kaplan reports that the Rangers, Pirates, Indians, Blue Jays and Dodgers are all in hot pursuit of Garza, but that several other clubs have also shown at least cursory interest in the right-hander. MLB Daily Dish reported early Tuesday morning that the Rangers seem to be the favorites in the Garza sweepstakes, but Kaplan believes that Chicago could be hesitant to cut a deal with Texas if Mike Olt -- who is dealing with vision issues -- is the cornerstone of their offer.
Garza, 29, spent the first two months of the season on the disabled list. Injury concerns are still very much in play for the right-hander, but his stellar pitching over the last month may have allayed fears somewhat. The right-hander owns a solid 3.17 earned run average and a 3.1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 11 starts on the season, but holds an even better 1.24 ERA over his last six starts.
Last we heard, Garza believed his possibility of being traded vs. extended sat at "50/50". Now it appears, however, that the Cubs could be interested in doing both -- signing then trading the right-hander. The sign-and-cut-ties move is not completely unprecedented -- e.g. the Red Sox traded Bronson Arroyo in 2006 just two months after giving him a long-term deal -- but the quick turnaround that would be required in Garza's situation would very likely be a first.