The calendar hit July 1 today, and with that, trade rumors will start to swirl more and more each day. We all know that's just the way the Dodgers like it as the deadline approaches on July 31.
Now that they've won eight of nine and are only four games in back of first in the NL West, you can bet Ned Colletti will be as motivated as ever to get this team back over the hump.
The biggest areas of need are third base, middle relief, and back end of the rotation. Today, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com wrote about five possible destinations for Cubs' starter Matt Garza (Insider only). The Cubs are facing yet another rebuilding season, so let's take a look at the proposed deal (which isn't real keep in mind, just what Bowden suggests) and if I would pull the trigger on it.
Garza to the Dodgers for RHPs Stephen Fife and Matt Magill
Garza: He got a late start to the season thanks to a strained lat muscle, and as the Reds' Johnny Cueto can attest to, that's not an easy injury to get rid of. But, Garza has pitched well in his eight starts, posting a 3-1 record with a 3.83 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. His strikeouts have been growing with each start, as he has 18 in his last couple.
He's a very consistent pitcher, as the only time he's topped a 3.95 ERA was when he was a young rookie with Minnesota in 2006. He posted a very low .236 BAA last season, and .230 so far this season. In other words, he doesn't allow many baserunners, and can be relied on for it.
Fife: After tossing seven scoreless innings on Sunday against the Phillies, who came in scorching the ball against Dodgers' pitching, you know his value just went up. This season he's 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. He's only made 12 starts in his career spanning two seasons, but with a very good line of a 2.78 ERA and 1.28 WHIP.
Magill: The transition to the majors has not gone nearly as smooth for him, as he's been roughed up in his six starts to the tune of a 6.51 ERA and 1.99 WHIP. He's walked 28 in 27 2/3 innings, which is obviously way too many. To his defense, he's had to make some starts on pretty short notice thanks to the never ending injury situation in LA, but even with that, he's been pretty horrendous.
Bottom Line: As much as I like Fife, I would pull the trigger on this deal. Garza is only 29 and has pitched in big games before. He won the 2008 ALCS MVP thanks to two wins over the Red Sox, giving up two runs in 13 innings. Yes, that was five years ago, but in five career postseason starts (including one more in 2010), he's 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.29 WHIP.
Garza strikes me as a guy who would thrive in the spotlight of LA, where he would get to make big starts down the stretch. He made many big starts with the Rays from 2008-2010, and was one of their top pitchers. Plus a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Garza is pretty nasty. That would be hard for any team to matchup with.
I would miss Fife because he is getting better at mixing his pitches and seems to step up to the challenge. But, it's the old saying of in order to get something, you have to give up something. Fife would be that guy. I'd be perfectly happy if he does stay a Dodger though, don't get me wrong.
I don't have much confidence in Magill, who just doesn't strike me as anything special. I know he won't always walk so many in future, but he just has "OK" written all over him. No big deal if he goes.