COMMENTARY | The Major League Baseball trade deadline is looming, and teams like the Chicago Cubs are hoping to cash in. The St. Louis Cardinals will be gearing up for a potential postseason run and adding a substantial piece to their roster will be an attractive possibility.
All the rumors have Matt Garza being traded before week's end and many pundits have tracked the Cardinals as being interested in the hurler. Those same reporters suggest that the Cubs have an extremely high asking price for a starting pitcher many perceive as being a middle-of-the-rotation type.
John Mozeliak, general manager for the St. Louis Cardinals, will be looking for the right deal to add depth to his team before the deadline. Garza is not that answer.
The price is wrong
If the Cubs were dumping Garza for a few mid-level prospects, then the conversation is worth having. The reported price tag is at least one high-level prospect. While it is true that a prospect is unproven while Garza is a known commodity, that price is just too steep for the return.
Garza is a rental player
Garza will reach free agency at the end of the season and under the new collective bargaining agreement, the team that trades for him will not be in line for draft pick compensation should they not retain him for the future. Under that logic, the Cardinals would be trading a top prospect for three months of Matt Garza.
The price is still wrong
If you are dreaming of acquiring Garza and then working out a long-term contract for him to stay with the team, then maybe it is worth the gamble. However, early reports suggest that Garza is looking for a substantial average-annual-value contract. That just doesn't make sense for the Cardinals, who have talented, cost-controlled players that figure to be much more sufficient for the club.
He may not be that significant of an upgrade
Garza has pitched amazingly well in his recent starts, driving his price higher and proving that he is healthy after recovering from an early injury. Over time, however, suggestions are that Garza is a third or fourth starter, at best. He does not provide a significant upgrade from Jake Westbrook or Lance Lynn and is probably only a slight upgrade from the production Joe Kelly has provided thus far.
Trading prospects within the division is risky
Finally, trading a top-level prospect to a team that the Cardinals will face more than most teams in Major League Baseball is risky on multiple levels. It is hard enough to watch a player you traded succeed with another team, even worse when he will be doing so against you while wearing the jersey of one of your rivals.
Matt Garza would make a nice piece for a playoff run. Ultimately, he just does not make sense for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Sometimes the best deals are the trades you don't make.
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