Chicago Cubs Will Still Shop Matt Garza
The Chicago Cubs’ front office cleared one hurdle on Friday when it was announced that the team and starting pitcher Matt Garza have agreed to a one year contract worth $9.5 million for the 2012 season. The next question will be how does Garza’s settlement with the Cubs affect the trade rumors that have surrounded Garza for most of the off-season. Garza’s was the 2012 version of the Jake Peavy rumor for the Chicago Cubs. The only difference is that the Cubs were looking to trade their top-tier starting pitcher rather than trading for a top-tier starting pitcher. Earlier in the 0ff-season, it seemed that each week brought a new rumor and new potential suitor for Garza. Nonetheless, despite all the rumors, Garza is still a member of the Cubs’ organization. But for how much longer?
As many Cubs’ fans and bloggers may have predicted, the settlement of Garza’s arbitration case likely will bring with it a new flurry of trade rumors involving the starting pitcher. And right on cue, let the rumors begin. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reports that he is hearing from people who speak regularly with the Cubs that the team will continue to shop Garza as Spring Training begins. Knobler adds that the Cubs’ chances of trading Garza have gone unaffected by the Garza’s agreement with the Cubs, as the $9.5 million base salary is less than midpoint of $10.25 million between the Cubs offer of $7.95 million and Garza’s request of $12.5 million. The only scenario where Garza’s trade value would have been affected would if the pitcher had went to arbitration, and the arbitrators declared Garza as the winner.
Knobler mentions that March could be an active month for team’s looking to trade starting pitchers, and the Red Sox have been one of the teams that have had the most interest in adding a starting pitcher. Having said that, while the Red Sox have had Garza on their radar since November, the teams discussion with the Cubs this off-season were not as serious as the Detroit Tigers or Toronto Blue Jays. In January, the Tigers may have been close to acquiring Garza for package of prospects that included Jacob Turner. But, for whatever reason, the Tigers and Cubs never reached an agreement on a Garza trade. Some reports have suggested that with the Tigers signing Prince Fielder, that may take them out of the Garza sweepstakes. Such a scenario would place the Blue Jays as the front-runners to land Garza. When the Cubs’ discussions with the Blue Jays were at their most serious point, the one name that was believed to be coming to the Cubs was starting pitcher Kyle Drabek. Those rumors, however, have not been existent since earlier in the off-season.
There are plenty of benefits to the Cubs trading Garza before the 2012 season starts. The reasons would be the Cubs would be able to trade Garza when is value is at an high, rather than risking Garza suffering an injury or struggling in the early part of the season. Having said that, if I were the Cubs, I would wait to trade Garza. Up to this point, the teams interested in Garza have been hesitant to meet the Cubs’ demands. The one thing any Major League Baseball season guarantees is that their will be an injury, in addition, there will likely be an injury to a team’s impact starting pitcher. When such an injury occurs, the Cubs’ would be sitting pretty with a top tier starting pitcher Garza that is on the trading block. So while Garza may be signed with the Cubs for the 2012 season, his future with the organization is still very much in doubt.