Garza Scheduled To Pitch Monday, But For Whom?

"Acqiure Matt Garza and we'll throw in the towel!" - Tasos Katopodis

Reports suggest that the Chicago Cubs would like to move SP Matt Garza prior to his start on Monday, but it's unclear how close they are to a deal with anyone. Two teams mentioned in conjunction with a possible deal? Texas and Oakland.

The Rangers thought they had a deal, possibly involving prospects Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, and Neil Ramirez, until the Cubs supposedly balked at a health report. The A's interest has been more vague, reported as "if the price was right..." Which doesn't really say anything, except that perhaps Billy Beane is prepared to dress up as a chicken in order to be selected.

One wonders if the A's "interest" might be designed to drive up the price for Texas -- or if Beane might even try to steal Garza away from Texas where he wouldn't covet Garza so much were Garza poised to go elsewhere. If Garza represents a possible "2-win or so" upgrade, then getting him might be worth 2 extra wins -- but getting him instead of the Rangers getting him might be worth a 4 win difference between the A's and the team chasing Oakland.

It's similar to the idea that had the A's won a game in Cleveland, they would now have a 1-game bigger lead in the AL West, but had they won that last game in Texas, their lead would be 2-games bigger. Is it worth it to the A's to pull off the double-whammy of adding Garza and also preventing the Rangers from adding him?

There's another reason Beane might be willing to part with some good prospect talent in order to acquire Garza, even though he would be adding to the A's area of strength in fortifying the starting rotation. Beane might be thinking ahead to October, where a rotation of Brett Anderson-Bartolo Colon-Jarrod Parker-Matt Garza would give the A's a more legitimate chance to advance in each series.

If they get into the "rental game," the stakes are high for the A's because as a small market team they depend on a strong farm system replenishing the pool of "good cheap young talent" and currently Oakland's farm system is not especially deep or strong overall. For example, Raul Alcantara may not be close to the big leagues yet, but at the moment he stands as one of the A's few good starting pitching prospects behind Sonny Gray. Deal him and the "depth chart" for the next couple years becomes even more shallow in a critical area for the A's. Yet his name is likely to be the type of name that comes up around a possible Garza deal.

Are the A's really in on Garza at all? If so, how much of the farm would they have to part with and would they still be decent shape for 2014-15? If so, are they more focused on staving off the Rangers or on creating a more dominant 4-man rotation in the playoffs? If Garza isn't sent to Texas, do the A's care as much about acquiring him -- or do they care at all? Sometime in the next 11 days, all these questions will be answered.

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