By Jeff Louderback
Multiple media reports indicate that the Red Sox are out on Ryan Dempster but in the hunt for American League East battle-tested right-hander Matt Garza.
Dempster and Garza, of course, pitch for the Chicago Cubs, who are operated by first-year president Theo Epstein and first-year general manager Jed Hoyer. Both executives undoubtedly know the Red Sox farm system since they had a role in bringing many of the draft picks and international free agent signings to Boston.
The Cubs and Red Sox conducted business earlier this season when relievers Chris Carpenter and Aaron Kurcz were shipped to Boston as compensation for Epstein leaving the Red Sox early for his new role with the Cubs.
Last week, the Red Sox traded 29-year-old right-hander Justin Germano to the Cubs. Germano was designated for assignment to make room for Jacoby Ellsbury on the active roster. In his lone appearance for Boston, Germano logged 5.2 scoreless innings against the Yankees. He posted a 2.40 ERA in the Pawtucket starting rotation.
Could the Germano deal be the warmup for a more substantial transaction between the teams before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline? Chances are, the answer is yes.
The Red Sox have a well-stocked farm system and current players on their major league roster and Triple-A roster that will peak the interest of Epstein and Hoyer. The Cubs have Garza, the 28-year-old right-hander who is under team control through next season (meaning he is arbitration eligible) and has a track record of success in the AL East with Tampa Bay. Garza is just 5-7 with a 4.02 ERA for the woeful Cubs this season, but a chance to scenery that would involve a return to the pennant race could be just what he needs.
ESPN’s Buster Olney said today that the Red Sox are an early favorite to acquire Garza, yet reports in the Boston media indicate that there are some officials who believe that Garza does not represent a significant upgrade on what the team already has, especially considering the cost in prospects it would take to get the deal completed.