Quote Originally Posted by ABE32 View Post

With the Chicago White Sox signing John Danks to a five-year extension worth a reported $65 million on Wednesday night, and the San Diego Padres trading Mat Latos on Saturday, it lessens the number of attractive starting pitchers on the trade market.

Of course, veterans such as Roy Oswalt, Edwin Jackson and Hiroki Kuroda remain on the free-agent market, but A's lefty Gio Gonzalez and Cubs righty Matt Garza are two of the most valuable young starters who could be had via trade.

On Wednesday, I posed five trades for Gonzalez, who I think will move first, so today we'll look at three potential suitors for Garza. Keep in mind the markets, and therefore the trade partners, are similar for both. However, Gonzalez is the better pitcher and would fetch a larger return than Garza. Nevertheless, there are three teams that should be in play for Garza. Each team has a clear need and legitimate reasons for pursuing a potential No. 2 starter with the health and ability to miss bats that Garza possesses.

1. Garza to the Toronto Blue Jays
In return: RHP Kyle Drabek, OF Anthony Gose

As Buster Olney reported today, the Texas Rangers clearly outbid their competition for the services of Japanese free-agent pitcher Yu Darvish. Whether the Jays were close in the bidding for Darvish is debatable. Thereís no debate, however, that Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos continues to search for starting pitching.

Garza typifies the type of player Anthopoulos has acquired in the last couple of years, such as Yunel Escobar, Colby Rasmus, Sergio Santos. All of them are
young and not quite in their primes, thus still possessing upside. Further, they all are contractually attractive. Garza remains under team control through the 2013 season and is due to make approximately $8 million via arbitration in 2012. Though he went just 10-10 for a struggling Cubs team this year, he had 197 strikeouts in 198 innings. Plus, he originally cut his teeth with the Tampa Bay Rays, so he can handle the AL East.

For the Cubs, Drabek shows all the signs of developing into a Garza-type pitcher despite a rough 2011, while Gose would give them another potential
center fielder of the future with a lot of upside. He might have the best set of pure tools in the minors.

2. Garza to the Boston Red Sox
In return: 3B Kolbrin Vitek, RHP Anthony Ranaudo, RHP Brandon Workman and 2B Sean Coyle

As I mentioned earlier, the price for Garza would be different than the price for Gonzalez. The Red Sox are potential suitors for both, but the Chicago triumvirate of president Theo Epstein, GM Jed Hoyer and scouting director Jason McLeod know the Boston farm system inside and out. Their familiarity with general manager Ben Cherington and Bostonís thirst for starting pitching could lead to a deal getting done quickly. If the return for Garza seems a bit much, consider that what could be factored into any deal for Garza is the yet-
to-be-determined compensation owed to the Red Sox for allowing the Cubs to poach Epstein.

Ranaudo has a chance to be an effective No. 2 starter in any rotation. Vitek is a 2010 first-rounder who has eventual 15-home run power and an excellent eye at the plate. Workman is a 2010 second-rounder with a sinking, heavy fastball who profiles as a back-of-the rotation type. Coyle is the kind of player who will be compared to Dustin Pedroia because he's small (5-foot-8) and plays the same position. He showed some pop by cranking 14 homers for low Class A Greenville last year at the age of 19.

The Red Sox are still reeling from the disastrous John Lackey deal, and the fact that Garza is AL East-proven would have special value to them.

3. Garza to the San Diego Padres
In return: IF Anthony Rizzo, RHP Keyvius Sampson

According to front-office sources, trading ace Latos to the Reds was a necessary precursor for how the Padres are planning to upgrade their talent at the major league level as well as in the farm system. But that doesn't mean Padres GM Josh Byrnes wants (or needs) to rebuild completely.

Since the Padres have acquired first baseman Yonder Alonso from Cincy, Rizzo is now expendable. Besides, he's a fly-ball hitter with mainly loft power who is ill-suited for the expansive dimensions of Petco Park. The Padres feel that Alonso, however, could be a doubles machine and shows foul pole-to-foul pole power.

Garza would be a nice replacement for Latos, and if Edinson Volquez returns to form, the Padres could have a very effective 1-2 punch in their rotation. The NL West is without a dominant team, and the Padres could compete if a couple of things break their way.

The Cubs do not have a long-term solution at first base, and Rizzo -- who had
a 1.056 OPS at Triple-A Tuscon last year and was drafted by Epstein's regime in Boston -- could slot in as Chicago's first baseman for the next decade. Sampson had an excellent year in low Class A, striking out 143 in 118 innings while walking just 49.
I'd be happy with Sampson. He's young and has great location. I was able to see him pitchseveral times this year, as he plays for my home town Fort Wayne Tincaps. He took a perfect game into the 7th inning this year, but was lifted for pitch count. Nice guy, too. Met him in the club house. One of my best friends is former Padres 3B prospect Jon Alia.