The Texas Rangers are the current favorite to acquire righty Matt Garza from the Chicago Cubs, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. While teams were previously just getting a feel for the Garza market prior to this week, the source noted that "things are picking up and several teams are being more aggressive."
Although the New York Post's Joel Sherman thinks that Rangers' top pitching prospect Martin Perez would be a key element to get a deal done, Texas will not give him up for Garza, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
Sullivan notes that names like Neil Ramirez, Carlos Pimentel, Leury Garcia and Luis Sardinas are more likely to be discussed with the Cubs. Many have speculated that third baseman Mike Olt would be involved in any deal between the two clubs.
Garza will be traded by Saturday, according to CSNChicago's David Kaplan, who also notes that the Rangers, Blue Jays, Pirates, Dodgers, Indians and Cardinals are the strongest pursuers involved at this time. ESPN's Jim Bowden adds that the Nationals, Diamondbacks, Red Sox and Rockies are all working to acquire the 29-year old. The Orioles, who have previously shown interest, seem to be out of the running at this time.
The Red Sox, who have been rumored to be a dark horse candidate in the sweepstakes, "don't figure to be big players" for Garza, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com. McAdam writes that the asking price is too high for a team that refuses to part with the key pitching prospects that the Cubs would ask for in a deal.
With as many as ten teams involved in discussions at the moment, the Cubs will have the ability to sort through offers over the next few days and get a very significant return for Garza. They will likely receive two or three top prospects due to the high demand for the soon-to-be free agent.
While the Rangers are clear favorites, the source warns that "you never know who might jump in late" and acquire Garza at the last minute. If the interest is serious enough, teams like the Red Sox, Indians, Blue Jays and Cardinals may increase their offers to snag Garza before the Rangers do.
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