By Hudson Belinsky

Rumors are surfacing that the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers have had discussions about a trade involving Cubs right-hander Matt Garza. Baseball Prospectus’s Kevin Goldstein tweeted earlier that the Tigers may be willing to include elite pitching prospect Jacob Turner in a deal for Garza.

Jacob Turner alone is probably not enough for the Cubs to warrant giving up a pitcher of Garza’s caliber. Garza had a fantastic campaign in 2011, striking out 8.95 batters per nine, while walking just 2.86. The 28-year-old posted 5.0 WAR (wins above replacement), making him among the most dominant starters in the game.

Garza is under team control through the 2013 season, so any team that trades for him would be getting two years of Garza before he would have the chance the walk away and sign with the highest bidder. Garza made a tick under $6 million in 2011, and figures to see modest raises as he hits arbitration in each of the next two offseasons. Since he has two years left of pitching for less than market value, Garza has tremendous value, and should warrant a huge package of prospects.

Jacob Turner is Detroit’s top pitching prospect, sporting a mid-90s fastball, a plus curveball, and a usable changeup. The 20-year-old has the stuff to miss bats and commands his arsenal well. He is a very good prospect and could be a No. 2 starter at the major league level.

Outside of Turner, the Tigers have another elite prospect in Nick Castellanos. Castellanos has a fantastic hit tool, and it will carry him all the way to the majors. He doesn’t have too much power, but he should develop solid-average power as he continues to fill out his 6-4 frame. There isn’t much there defensively, but Castellanos’s bat is good enough where it won’t matter much.

Obviously Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would love a deal centered around both Turner and Castellanos, but the Tigers are reluctant to offer such a package. Since Garza has so much team control left, the Cubs can wait until a team offers them a package similar or better than a Turner-Castellanos. Other teams with the demand and prospects to acquire Garza include the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees.

Filed under: AL, Central, Central, NL, Prospects

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