Nationals “have kicked the tires on” Matt Garza

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Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post has it:

The Nationals have kicked the tires on Cubs right-hander Matt Garza, one person familiar with the situation said. Talks between the teams have not progressed to the point of the Nationals offering the Cubs a formal proposal.

Garza is also thought to be drawing trade interest from the Orioles, Rangers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Indians and Dodgers, so he is not going to be an easy (or inexpensive) get for the team that ultimately acquires him.

Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reported Saturday that the Cubs wanted two of the Orioles’ top five prospects — infielder Jonathan Schoop and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez — in exchange for Garza.

Garza has an excellent 3.45 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 52/18 K/BB ratio through his first 57 1/3 innings this season with Chicago. The 29-year-old is scheduled to hit the free agent market in November.

Report: Indians, Padres still talking about starting pitching trade

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.

The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.

Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.

Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.

The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.