Cubs and Garza Avoid Arbitration, Strike a Deal

Pitcher Matt Garza, and the Chicago Cubs beat the arbitration clock this morning by agreeing to a one year deal for the 2012 season.  Garza will make $9.5 million as well as performance bonuses included in the contract.  A common ground was found after the Cubs were looking to lock Garza up for $7.95 million and Garza was looking for $12.5 million according to a Major League source.

Garza was a hot topic this off season, as Epstein was willing to move the intriguing right handed pitcher.  Epstein continues to state that Garza is worth three “A-List” prospects, and a team has not come calling with that type of return.  Just because Epstein would be willing to move Garza doesn’t mean he is actively shopping him, and he cleared that up this off season at

Matt Garza

the Cubs convention by saying the media has built up the story, when in reality there are very few untouchables on the Cubs, and if the right offer is out there Theo and the Cubs would jump at it.  A lot of sources out there said that the Cubs most likely would be more willing to deal Garza at the deadline this year because the market for such a pitcher would be much better at that time.  While that could be true, the fact that Garza could be considered a rental player might hurt that value just a bit.  However, teams in contention down the stretch might overpay for such a player and then work to sign him long term.  The Cubs are in a good position with Garza, as they hold team control over him thru the 2013 season, thus making him arbitration eligible again next year.  Epstein has recently been quoted as saying that he thinks Garza is a prime candidate for a long term extension, this buys the Cubs some more time to work on said long term deal or deal Garza and continue to build the system up.

Look for Garza to anchor the Cubs young rotation this year, unless he’s gone by opening day…. doubtful.

Thanks for reading!

- George Cotugno

5 Comments

Very good price for a team’s front of the rotation starter, even for a team expected to be as bad as the Cubs are this year. As well as a pitcher that has production to back it up.

You can’t be too sad to make $9.5M, and I know players hate to actually go through the arbitration process, but I think that Garza would have been a winner and could have walked away with the 12.5

For sure, I think he could have won that arbitration. Maybe it shows a level of commitment on each side, and maybe Epstein is really looking at keeping Garza around. Like it or not, he is the #1 starter at this point, and the fact that we are paying him less than $10 million is brilliant. Our last “#1″ starter, Zambrano was making $18 million, and they will get better production out of Garza than Z.

I’m sure the Cubs are happy to save some money, but I also think it makes it MORE likely that he will be traded come June/July. Any team in the playoff hunt would be happy to pick up Garza, especially if it will only cost them 4 or 5 million for the last 3 months of the season.

Definitely, it gives the Cubs flexibility come the deadline… I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs pull the trigger before then too. However, I don’t think an extension is out of the question, especially if things are progressing quicker than expected for the Cubs. I might be in the minority, but given the way the division is shaping up, at least on paper, Cubs could surprise more than a few people. If that does happen, the Cubs might want to lock up Garza for a couple years as a #2 guy, but I think it depends on the offers coming in (which will be more desperate at the deadline) and how far along the “build” is for the Cubs.

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