The Padres are lighting the world on fire with their moves and their rumors. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Cubs have already approached the Padres regarding a trade that would include Matt Garza and Anthony Rizzo. Keep in mind Theo Epstein is very familiar with Rizzo. He drafted Rizzo while general Manager of the Red Sox.
With the addition of Yonder Alonso and Jesus Guzman‘s outstanding offensive play last season, it would seem Rizzo has very little shot of cracking the Major League lineup again next season. At best he is third on depth chart. At worst, he is fourth or fifth behind Mark Kotsay and Kyle Blanks. A trade involving Rizzo seemed inevitable as soon as the Padres sent Mat Latos to the Reds.
Matt Garza was once one of the prized young pitchers in Tampa Bay. While many think he struggled once being shipped off to Chicago, his peripheral numbers are actually slightly lower than his career averages. His hits per 9 innings was 8.5 (8.6 for his career), his ERA was 3.32 (3.83 for his career), and his walks per 9 innings was 2.9 (3.1 for his career). Garza had a solid year in Chicago, but too many people judge him by the wins and loss column. He went 10-10 last season and a Cubs team that struggled to even match the Padres in win total.
Garza made just under $6 million in 2011 and is Super 2 arbitration eligible. He would be one of the more expensive Padres, but I’m sure the team is much more comfortable paying a starting pitcher $8 million than they are paying a closer that much. And Garza is worth it when you consider his talent level. The Padres would be getting a pitcher with a career WAR of 12.7, an even 1 home run per 9 inning ratio, and postseason pitching experience. In addition, Garza should thrive in San Diego. The offense may not support high win totals, but his numbers as a whole should improve.
Garza would figure to be more than a one year rental for the Padres considering he is not a free agent until 2014. However, he could quickly become too expensive to keep. If the team made the move and got Garza, it would be up to Josh Byrnes to decide whether extend the contract or let Garza play it out.
In all, this would be a big move for the Padres. Depending on the production of Alonso and Guzman at first base, the loss of Rizzo might not hurt all that bad. The only question is whether the Cubs will really want to do the deal or continue their pursuit of Prince Fielder.