The word Tuesday was that the Texas Rangers are interested in pitcher Matt Garza.

Of course they are. The Rangers have been interested in Garza since the night he beat them in Minnesota in September of 2007. Their attraction only grew during the three seasons that the right-hander spent leading the rotation in Tampa Bay.

The Rangers like his stuff. They like the way that he “misses bats,” to use the current vernacular. They like the way that when he’s on the mound, Garza can look like the baddest man in the ballpark.

Of course, the Rangers had two scouts watching Garza’s start Monday against the White Sox, as reported by Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports. Garza could be a valuable upgrade for a pitching staff that has had three rookies taking regular turns in the rotation.

But at what price should that upgrade be?

In Chicago, the Cubs’ fire sale appears to be fully engulfed. Carlos Marmol was designated for assignment. Scott Feldman was traded to Baltimore. Scott Hairston was sent packing to the Nationals.

But for Cubs president Theo Epstein, that’s mostly been just basic housecleaning. His big scores are expected to come when he deals Garza, maybe lefty Travis Wood, and the always self-important Alfonso Soriano.

And there’s the problem, as far as the Rangers are concerned. When Garza was dealt to the Cubs in January 2011, the Rays received a package that included pitcher Chris Archer, who’s currently in their starting rotation, outfielder Sam Fuld and Hak-Ju Lee, a shortstop (though out for the season with a knee injury at Triple A) who’s considered Tampa Bay’s top prospect.

Epstein won’t get that in return. Garza is a free agent after this season and will be looking for his first big multiyear contract. When he was traded to Chicago, he was coming off three seasons in which he had averaged 200 innings. But a stress reaction in his elbow caused him to miss half of 2012, and Garza didn’t make his first start this year until May 21.

He appears to be healthy, but the phrase “stress reaction” is likely to be factored into his price.

The Cubs are expected to want a major league-ready pitcher in return. Whether they would consider Nick Tepesch or Justin Grimm to fit that description is up to Theo.

I can’t imagine the Rangers giving up lefty Martin Perez, who beat Baltimore on Tuesday and has far and away been the best of the club’s rookie starters.

Soriano, who’s always had a loose grip on reality, campaigned in the Chicago Tribune for the Cubs to keep Garza.

“It’s hard to find pitchers like that,” said Soriano, who played with the Rangers in 2004-05.

Here’s a great idea, though, for Sori: He could give up some of that ridiculous $18 million he’s scheduled to make next year so that Epstein can keep Garza.

Or, of course, Soriano could go somewhere with Garza this month in a package deal. A team may want an overpriced 37-year-old with flighty defensive skills who may still be able to hit 30 home runs a season.