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MLB Trade Rumors: Braves Rough Up Matt Garza, Asking Price May Drop

The Atlanta Braves are known to be in the market for a starting pitcher (or two) before the trade deadline hits, and one of their reported targets is Matt Garza. He made the start for the Cubs on Thursday night in Atlanta and did not pitch well, lasting just four innings as he gave up five runs on three homers.

Garza has some pretty solid career numbers, but he isn't doing any favors for Chicago's new general manager, Theo Epstein, while pitching on the road. He's allowed nearly three runs more on average while pitching away from Wrigley Field, and he's surrendered an unusually high amount of home runs. For a fly ball pitcher such as himself, potential teams who play in smaller ballparks are going to have serious concerns about Garza's ability to get outs.

Fewer suitors typically means a lower asking price, and that can only mean good things for the Braves.

Garza is now 4-7 on the season with an ERA of 4.32 and FIP of 4.37. All of his other numbers are very solid -- especially his strikeout-to-walk ratio -- with the exception of his HR% on fly balls. He's going to be a very appealing player for teams looking for a starter before July 31, regardless of his struggles in 2012.

Zack Greinke will remain the No. 1 target for Atlanta, but they'll get some tough competition from the Rangers, Cardinals and others around the league. Garza is no Greinke, but for the prospects and money needed to secure him on a long-term investment, he might just be the better buy for the cash-strapped Braves.

For more on the Bravos, check out Talking Chop.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.