Marlins Interested in Matt Garza

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 27: Matt Garza #17 of the Chicago Cubs pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 27, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Over the weekend, we heard news that the Miami Marlins were in the race for yet another starting pitcher after they failed to acquire Gio Gonzalez (unsurprisingly). Now that that chase is over, the Marlins are serious about acquiring Matt Garza from the Chicago Cubs (h/t MLB Daily Dish). This comes as no surprise, as Garza was among the players likely being considered as a trade option for the Fish recently. The Marlins' desire to add another solid starter to their rotation would naturally bring them to Garza, as he is not all that different in terms of quality from the other starters the team has shown interest in acquiring.

The difference is going to be in asking price. The Cubs are supposedly looking for a high price for Garza, and one has to wonder a few things when it comes to the Marlins trading for him:

1) Do the Marlins have the pieces to acquire Garza for around the Cubs' price?

2) Should the Marlins even bother paying that price?

The Pieces

The names on the Marlins that were listed in this piece are as follows:

Rival clubs say Matt Dominguez, Gaby Sanchez, Chris Coghlan, and Jose Ceda are among the other players Miami is willing to part with.

Those names should not surprise anyone as guys on the proverbial "trade block." We have discussed the possibility of trading Gaby Sanchez before on this site, and it seems that if the Marlins do trade one of their first basemen, it will be the Miami-born Sanchez rather than the more talented Logan Morrison. Given that he may be the team's best trade chip, it would not surprise if he left in a deal for Garza. Here's what I determined was his trade value from this past Thursday's piece:

Sanchez, Year WAR $ Value ($Mil) $ Salary ($Mil)
2012 2.0 9.0 0.4
2013 2.0 9.4 3.5
2014 2.5 12.5 6
2015 2.5 13.3 9.5
Total 9.0 44.2 19.4

This sort of setup yields a surplus value of $24.8 million over the next four seasons. With some guesswork involved, I would say the range in value is between $20 to 25 million for Sanchez's trade value.

That would be significant trade value to be added to a deal. But as mentioned on Twitter yesterday, Sanchez by himself won't be enough to make a deal happen. The Marlins will almost undoubtedly have to add some young talent. Among the possible "young talent" guys the Marlins could throw the Cubs' way are Christian Yelich and Matt Dominguez. Despite the perceived difference between those two names, John Sickels of SB Nation's Minor League Ball rated Yelich as a B+ and Dominguez as a B- in his Marlins top 20 prospects grades, so their differences are not as drastic as they may be in most people's minds. Dominguez is the preferred trade bait since he is not only the lesser prospect at this point but also is blocked at third base (ideally) by Hanley Ramirez for the next three seasons.

The other names the Marlins could consider are toss-ins at this point. Jose Ceda is a reliever and a former Cubs prospect, but as well as he pitched last season, there are plenty of relievers who can likely produce similar results. As for Coghlan, he has a long road back to recovery, not only from injury but from ineffectiveness. His value is at its lowest and he does not have a guaranteed roster spot or even a real position based on how he played in center field last season. He and Chris Volstad are in similar situations in terms of their status with the team.

Is He Worth It?

So we discussed the pieces, and it is likely the Marlins would have to surrender at least Sanchez, Dominguez, and someone else among the guys mentioned. There's even a chance Sanchez, Dominguez, and Yelich may have to be involved, which would be an very high cost. This is especially concerning given the likely surplus value Garza would bring during his final two arbitration seasons.

, Year WAR $ Value ($Mil) $ Salary ($Mil)
2012 3.5 15.8 8.7
2013 3.5 16.5 11.3
Total 7.0 32.3 20

Based on these numbers, it looks like Garza only has surplus or trade value of about $12 million. Compare that to the price would be paying, which is closer to $30 million in surplus value. The Marlins would be paying a premium of around $18 million in trade value to gain the immediate rotation improvement that Garza would provide. Remember that this is a pitcher who has averaged around three wins per season in the last three years; only recently have his numbers spiked upwards in such a severe fashion.

Again, this situation is compounded by the fact that there are still available starters in the free agent market that would not require the Marlins to give up talent. A team lacking depth in their minor league system like the Marlins should not consider trading what little depth they do have for a pitcher of similar caliber to players available in the free agent market. We've already discussed the possibility of Edwin Jackson, and Roy Oswalt was just voted as a pitcher the Marlins should acquire. Neither pitcher is likely more than a half a win worse than Garza next season, and both would require only monetary commitment rather than the additional need for prospects.

What do you Fish Stripers think? Is Garza worth the prospects, or should the Marlins look to free agency to fill their needs?

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