Could the first big trade of 2012 send Matt Garza out of Chicago?
The Cubs have reportedly been talking to several teams, including the Marlins, about the 28-year-old right-hander, ESPN's Buster Olney reported on Twitter. According to Olney, however, a trade is not imminent.
Other teams reportedly interested in Garza include the Tigers, Blue Jays, Yankees and Red Sox. According to a report by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Cubs are looking to acquire young starting pitching in any deal for Garza -- something the Tigers have in 20-year-old Jacob Turner. Olney reports that Detroit would be willing to deal its top prospect for a top pitcher.
The Marlins have also shown a willingness to part with some of their top young prospects to acquire a front-line starter, as they were one of the clubs pushing for lefty Gio Gonzalez, who was eventually dealt to the Nationals.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com first reported that the Marlins have "serious interest" in Garza. Miami is looking for a top-of-the-rotation starter after missing out on Angels lefty C.J. Wilson and Gonzalez, and Garza would be a natural fit alongside Josh Johnson and free-agent lefty Mark Buehrle.
Garza, who isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2013 season, is expected to make between $9-10 million in arbitration next year. He went 10-10 with a career-best 3.32 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 198 innings last season. For his career, the right-hander is 52-54 with a 3.83 ERA.
This offseason has already seen several young arms dealt for an array of top prospects. The A's traded right-hander Trevor Cahill, along with lefty Craig Breslow and cash, to the D-backs for Collin Cowgill, Jarrod Parker and Ryan Cook, and Oakland picked up four quality prospects from the Washington for Gonzalez. The Padres also received an impressive haul of top prospects from the Reds in exchange for righty Mat Latos.
The clubs who aren't able to pull off a deal for Garza still have a few potential options remaining on the free-agent market, particularly right-hander Edwin Jackson, who profiles similarly to Garza as a young, hard-throwing right-hander. Roy Oswalt and Joe Saunders are among the other proven starters available on the open market.
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.