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Why David Price is hoping Matt Garza gets traded back to the AL East

07.11.12 at 4:09 pm ET
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Cubs right-hander Matt Garza could be a candidate to be traded back to the AL East (AP)

KANSAS CITY — Chances are, David Price and Matt Garza have talked in recent days. And chances are, the subject of Garza’s destination in a potential trade came up.

“Honestly, I talk to him about that every single day,” Price said of his former Rays teammate prior to the All-Star Game. “He’s one of my best friends in baseball. I hope he comes to the East, just so I can hang out with him. I told him whether he goes to New York or Boston, I hope he doesn’t go to Detroit, because the only time I’d see him then would be in the postseason. We’re done with [the Tigers on the schedule]. I hope he does. I hope he goes to one of those teams and I get to see him again. I told him if he goes to New York or Boston and we come there, I’m just going to stay with him. He said that was fine. I would like to see him pitch.”

Price and Garza were teammates with the Rays from 2008-10. The two collaborated for arguably the most significant pitching performance in Rays history, with Garza dominating the Red Sox for seven innings and Price recording the final four outs of Tampa Bay’s 3-1 win over the Sox in Game 7 of the ALCS in 2008. And so, Price is well aware that his former teammate — who is currently 4-7 with a 4.32 ERA but with strong strikeout (8.3 per nine innings) and walk (2.8 per nine) rates for a terrible Cubs team — can be a difference maker in both the race for the postseason and, potentially, in the playoffs themselves.

Indeed, Garza’s track record of excellence in the AL East (and, perhaps most notably, his consistent dominance against the Sox, against whom he is 7-4 with a 3.83 ERA), along with the fact that he will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2013 season, could position him as the most valuable player on the trade market this winter. The Cubs will undoubtedly seek a haul if they do part with the right-hander, and with good reason.

“He stepped up for us in big game after big game, in Game 7 of the ALCS against Boston in 2008, he gave up the home run to [Dustin] Pedroia in the first inning and then shut the door. That was huge,” said Price. “He threw the no-hitter against Detroit. He threw some pretty good games for us.”

And now, Price is willing to embrace the possibility that Garza could pitch against the Rays as well. The competitor in him relishes the idea of facing his close friend.

“I would like to pitch against him,” said Price. “It would be fun. It’s always fun whenever you’re matched up against one of your buddies. I think it would be cool, it would be good for him to get back into a winning environment.”

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