The Detroit Tigers have emerged as a suitor for Chicago Cubs starter Matt Garza.
Interest in Garza has picked up recently, major league sources say, and the Tigers are involved. Multiple teams are pursuing Garza aggressively, increasing the odds that the right-handed starter will be dealt before spring training.
The New York Yankees are interested in Garza, but one source said they are not currently engaged because of the Cubs’ asking price. Garza’s rising salary — likely more than $8 million in 2012, with another year of salary arbitration thereafter — could become problematic because of the Yankees’ proximity to the luxury-tax barrier.
However, unlike many available pitchers, Garza already has proved he can win in the rugged American League East. Given that, and the Yankees’ continued need for pitching, the Bronx can’t be ruled out as a possible destination.
The Tigers have quietly pursued starting pitchers throughout the offseason. They tried to acquire Gio Gonzalez before he was dealt from Oakland to Washington, but those efforts stalled when the A’s demanded righty Jacob Turner and third baseman Nick Castellanos. Because Garza comes with fewer years of control, the Cubs would be less likely to insist on both Turner and Castellanos in talks with Detroit.
The Toronto Blue Jays have discussed Garza with the Cubs, but one source said there has been no recent momentum toward a deal. The Blue Jays were serious enough about upgrading their rotation that they submitted a posting bid for Japanese pitching star Yu Darvish in December.
The Boston Red Sox hope to add at least one starting pitcher and are fond of Garza, but they don’t have active trade talks with the Cubs right now, according to one source. It’s unclear if Boston has the prospects to swing a deal for Garza after using so much minor league depth to acquire relievers Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon.
— Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal