Back when the Texas Rangers acquired Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners in an 11th-hour deal just more than three years ago, it changed the face and direction of the Rnagers' franchise forever.
Back then, the Rangers were the emerging team, still yet to have ever won a playoff series, and now the Rangers are the two-time World Series losers looking to get back to that point and finally reach the mountaintop.
Much like in 2010, the Rangers are looking to acquire a front-line starting pitcher to help bolster their pitching rotation and this year, that name is Matt Garza, the Chicago Cubs' starter who's widely considered the top arm on the trade market heading up to the July 31 trade deadline.
Make no mistake, no one is putting Garza on the same level as Lee was in 2010 — a rare, true ace in the league, but it should also be noted that over the past month or more, there hasn't been a better starting pitcher in baseball than Garza.
Garza, like Lee, would be a strict rental player and is more than likely not going to re-sign with the Rangers after he gets a huge, whopping contract from some other team willing to overpay this off-season, but he could be a key piece to the Rangers returning to the World Series in October after a disappointing Wild-Card exit in the 2012 playoffs.
Let's take a look at the two in their respective seasons prior to being traded, and be aware, the Cubs have reportedly informed Garza's agent he will be traded, and soon, it's just not totally clear where yet although the Rangers seem to be the team.
Tale of the tape
Matt Garza, 2013, Cubs — 6-1 record, 3.17 ERA, 62 strikeouts, 20 walks, .229 Opponents batting average.
Cliff Lee, 2010, Mariners — 8-3 record, 2.34 ERA, 89 strikeouts, 6 walks, .231 Opponents batting average.
Again, don't be confused here: Garza is not Lee, circa 2010. But since starting the season on the disabled list he's come back to have quite the season. In his previous six starts, Garza has a 1.24 ERA, is 5-0 and an opponents batting average of .210.
Should the Rangers make this move? What do you think? If so, what do you expect of Garza over the season's final 2 1/2 months?