Trade rumors continued to swirl around Matt Garza despite the Cubs right-hander leaving his July 21 start with a triceps injury, but now he can be crossed off the list of pitchers potentially on the move before July 31.
Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago reports that an MRI exam showed fluid in Garza’s triceps, which means he’ll be shut down until after Tuesday’s deadline has passed.
Garza technically could still be traded even while hurting, but obviously it would be tough for the Cubs to get anything close to full value for a pitcher with a big health question mark. And because they have him under team control for 2013 via arbitration they could start shopping him again this offseason.
Another possibility is dealing Garza during August, but because numerous contenders would surely place waiver claims on him the Cubs would be limited to negotiating with whichever team put in a claim with the highest priority. That would kill their leverage then, just as the triceps injury has killed their leverage now.
Several reports have suggested that the Dodgers preferred Garza to rotation-mate Ryan Dempster, so while the injury is bad news for the Cubs it could actually make it easier to get a strong return for Dempster.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.