Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza throws to Milwaukee Brewers' Juan Francisco during the fifth inning of a baseball game Thursday, June 27, 2013, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
The Texas Rangers need some help, and in more than one area, with the July 31 MLB trade deadline approaching.
With the American League seemingly wide open and the Rangers possessing the third-best record in the AL behind Boston and Oakland, one or two moves could put the Rangers on the path toward winning their third AL pennant in four seasons.
The biggest fish on the market, at least that we know right now, is Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza, who is a free agent after the season and would be the true definition of a rental player — the same as Cliff Lee was in 2010 but not quite to that caliber.
Garza is on fire right now, though, and is ripe to be traded. In fact, the Cubs let Garza know over the weekend that he's likely to be dealt over the all-star break, meaning if the Rangers do land him he could be toeing the rubber for the Rangers in Friday's home series opener against Baltimore.
After spending the beginning of the season on the DL, Garza is 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA, but take a closer look at his previous six starts and you'll see just how good he can be. Over that time, his ERA is 1.24.
He'd immediately become the Rangers' No. 2 pitcher behind Darvish, and in a five-game playoff series would give the Rangers Darvish, Garza and Derek Holland — pretty salty, to say the least. In five postseason starts with Tampa Bay, Garza is 2-1 with a 3.
Add in Martin Perez or a healthy, effective Colby Lewis (or possibly Matt Harrison), and you have a pretty darn solid seven-game series rotation in the playoffs. You could also put Alexi Ogando back in the bullpen where he could further solidify an already stout bullpen and take even more pressure off the starters.
At 29, Garza will undoubtedly test the free-agent market following the season, and he should. Any deal involving Garza and the Rangers would almost certainly start with third base prospect Mike Olt, the Rangers' top position player in the farm system, who was seen as untouchable at this point last year.
Now, it's becoming more and more clear that Olt is blocked in the Rangers' big-league roster by Adrian Beltre and even Mitch Moreland, although he seems much more comfortable playing third base, which will be occupied by Beltre for at least three more years following this one.
The next few days could get very interesting, and that new-look pitching rotation coming out of the break could look even more different with Garza added to the mix.