A source tells Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse that the Rays are “motivated” to trade Matt Garza.
We have already heard Garza connected to the Brewers and Nationals, but according to Price, the Rangers view him as a fallback if they are unable to sign Cliff Lee or acquire Zack Greinke.
Garza, 27, has thrived since being acquired from the Twins in November of 2007, posting a 3.86 ERA over 95 games (94 starts) with the Rays. He went 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 2010 and has topped 200 innings pitched in each of the past two seasons. Garza remains under team control through 2013, but is due a hefty raise in the arbitration process from the $3.35 million he made this past season.
In a perfect world, the Rays would probably prefer to deal James Shields, but they stand to get more in return for Garza, especially as they attempt to to bolster their lineup and reconstruct their bullpen. If Garza is ultimately dealt, the club would slide Jeremy Hellickson into their starting rotation. Hellickson, who turns 24 next April, went 4-0 with a 3.47 ERA and 33/8 K/BB ratio over 10 appearances (four starts) with the Rays this past season. He looks ready for primetime.