Saturday January 08, 2011 | 06:19 AM

Matt Garza, the pitcher who kept the Boston Red Sox out of the 2008 World Series, has been traded by Tampa Bay to the Chicago Cubs for five players, including a couple of good prospects.

Do Red Sox fans send a Thank You card to the Rays, or one of sympathy?

The Rays had put together a contending team the past three years, but in baseball's nearly free market, they cannot keep up with New York and Boston in the AL East.

Boston has already signed Tampa Bay free agents Carl Crawford and Dan Wheeler. The Rays have also parted with Carlos Pena, Joaquin Benoit, Randy Choate and Dioner Navarro. All left as free agents. Relievers Rafael Soriano and Grant Balfour are about to do the same.

In Garza, 27, the Rays had a young pitcher who was 34-31 with a 3.86. He was especially tough against Boston and was the 2008 American League Championship Series MVP. He beat Boston twice in the series, including a 3-1 decision in Game 7.

But the Rays had to look to the future in dealing Garza. It looks like they received some players who can contribute in years to come. For more on the trade from a Tampa Bay perspective, see St. Petersburg Times columnist Gary Shelton.



About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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