Creative contract extension could benefit both Garza and the Cubs

Creative contract extension could benefit both Garza and the Cubs

Matt Garza was once considered the Cubs biggest potential trade chip.  There were rumors of Garza going to the Blue Jays, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, even the Royals, who just pulled off a trade for a similar talent in James Shields.

Today Garza's value has fallen to the point where it really is questionable that they should trade him.  Nobody doubts his talent, but with an injury adding uncertainty in the present to go with just one year of cost control remaining, the Cubs have to ask whether the Cubs can get any worthwhile value in return.

Teams will want a discount because of the risk factor, even if he throws well this spring.  The alternative then is to let him pitch into the 2013 season and re-establish value while allaying concerns about his elbow.

The problem there is that even if he does pitch well and stay healthy, the structure of the new CBA hurts his value in a midseason trade.  Not only will teams see him as a 2 month rental, but they can no longer get compensated with a draft pick or two.

No matter how it pans out, the Cubs would be selling low on Garza.

So re-sign him.

The same factors that limit his trade value also limit the amount that Garza can ask for in an extension.  The Cubs must take risk factors into consideration when structuring a deal so they'll have to get creative. It may come in the form of a shorter number of years plus a lower AAV with some incentives thrown in to give him a chance of reaching an acceptable yearly salary.  Maybe it includes an opt-out clause for Garza in case he returns to form and wants a chance to re-negotiate or test the free agent waters.  I think some combination of flexibility/stability would be ideal for Garza. He has been vocal in his love for the city and the organization as well as his desire to find some stability.  The Cubs were his 3rd organization by the age of 27.

It isn't just about buying low on a Garza extension.  It's also about investing in him and adding flexibility.  In the present, Garza will be one of their top 2 starters if he's healthy.  He's just 29 and right in the middle of his peak years.  He's been more effective as a Cub with better command and a more effective approach on the mound.  It's possible that Garza even has some upside left.

The team itself is still building and looking to acquire long-term assets, particularly on the mound.  Garza can be that.  He fits in terms of age, stuff, command, and a mental makeup that continues to look more and more solid as he matures.  He has proven his worth to the Cubs on and off the field.

By extending Garza, the Cubs can make a more prudent decision going forward.  Many factors come into play as to where the Cubs go once they extend him.  It will depend on the deal, the team, and Garza himself.

That gives the Cubs two possible scenarios that greatly favor the Cubs...

  1. Garza outperforms his contract and the Cubs find themselves in position to contend in the next year or two.  In that case, you may want to keep him as one of the leaders of your rotation.
  2. Garza outperforms his contract but the Cubs don't make any progress as a team.  In that case, you now have a tradeable short term asset that has surplus value and you cash that in for long term assets.

The risk is that if Garza doesn't outperform a team friendly contract, then you aren't really that much worse off than you are now, which is a sell low scenario.

There is some increased financial risk, of course, but if you can work a way to buy out this arb year and extend him through 2014 with a team option for 2015, then you even mitigate that risk substantially.  That kind of extension would have been unthinkable at this point last year, but circumstances have changed because of the increased risk involved with the injury.

A flexible, short term extension would buy the Cubs some time to assess the potential for the team to become contenders by 2014 or 2015,  while also adding trade value and flexibility in case they don't.

For Garza it gives him some amount of stability with an opportunity to prove himself in 2013 and 2014.  If he does pitch well, then the short term nature of the deal would also allow him to cash in with a longer term contract while he's still young (31 or 32).  That longer term contract could come in the form of a second extension with Cubs or it could come through an increasingly lucrative free agent market.

It makes sense for Garza and the Cubs as each side picks up some stability, flexibility, and some time to add value. It may end up being the most important move the Cubs make this offseason.

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  • Completely agree. If we can't get a deal we like by the end of spring training, then I would work hard to get him an extension in the first month of the season.

    Given the price of FA pitching, keeping him around seems like a pretty good idea. It's not like money is an issue for our team, and like John highlighted above, we can turn some risk into potential savings.

  • In reply to bwenger:

    I think it can really work for both sides. There's no guarantee Garza would be amenable to such a deal, but it wouldn't surprise me if he was. He has something to gain too in terms of stability and the potential to add value. Could potentially work out well on both ends.

  • John this makes the most sense. Garza has always seemed undervalued in the industry -- there is no way the Cubs would get value in trade that would equal 2-3 good years of Matt Garza. Signing him would be the first clear sign that they're trying to speed up the process a bit. Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make...

  • In reply to drben:

    Exactly drben. And I dont know if you remember an older post that shows how often these kinds of deals go wrong for the team trading the established talent. It was astonishing to me how often those deals for prospects don't pan out. I'd like to see him in the fold until the Cubs see where they are in the next year or two.

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    What are the chances we already asked Garza and his agent about a long-term extension? I bet we have, and I bet no doors were closed, but Garza was not willing to take a hometown discount either. I could be wrong, but I have be believe the question has come up.

    And if I am Garza's agent, would I advise him to sign an extension? Well, looking at what Grienke got, if healthy I think my client could get over $100 mil. If money is his motivation, I would be holding out for that at least.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I'm sure the question has come up. The hope is that circumstances have changed enough to where Garza's side has lost a little leverage and may be more willing to consider a friendly deal.

    He can look at Greinke but he also has to look at guys like EJax. It works both ways. He has to know there's some risk and it seems to me he should be willing to trade some $$ for a little security and stability. In the past, we've seen multiple players opt for some security instead, even guys who were much lesser risks than Garza is.

  • Because of various reasons they will never receive full value in
    trading Garza. Try to sign him to a 3 or 4 year contract unless
    we can get good value at the end of ST

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    Another thought: would Garza sign such an extension without a NTC? Would the front office make this concession rather than lose him for nothing?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Wanted one before but isn't going to get one. That could be the fly in the ointment.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That brings up an interesting question.

    John - how do the years working in 10/5 rights? Garza was up in 2006, but didn't have more than 100 innings until 2008. If 2006 and 2007 count, then anything over 3 years and he would get his 10/5 rights with the Cubs. So, that may need to be a consideration for the FO and Garza too.

  • In reply to bwenger:

    Great point. I'm assuming it goes by service time and Garza has just over 5 years at this point. I think they can afford a 3-4 years if that is the case.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    10-5 rights refer to 10 total years of service time, and 5 years with the same club. Garza is several years away from that.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    That's what I thought. Thanks.

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    I'm just posting like crazy today. (Anything to avoid data entry.) I do wonder what the Tigers offer was last winter. If it was Turner and lesser prospects, I have to think Theo is still glad he held him.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yes, I would be too. The cost control with Turner is nice, but there is some doubt about his upside these days.

  • We should sign him as soon as we can. Starting in 2014 each
    team will have much more money from TV/cable. Because of
    the big contracts signed by pitchers, each win is worth about
    a million dollars. So if at the end of 2013 Garza wins 15 he
    will be worth $15 million per year.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I agree with the premise but teams value "wins" differently because Garza can't really control how many times the actually gets credited with a win. Garza's value ultimately comes down to the things he can control (things like walks, strikeouts, and perhaps how many HRs he allows).

  • I would love to have the Cubs sign Garza to a longer term contract, but I hope they do NOT include an opt out clause, unless it is an opt out for both parties.

    I can't think of too many ways that the team wins with an opt out clause. If the player does badly, he stays, and the team is stuck with a bad contract. if the player does well, he leaves, and has no trade value at all.

    Just make him what the front office believes is a reasonable offer, and if he refuses to accept it, trade him in the spring for whatever we can get.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Much rather do one without that as well, but I think both sides have to assume some risk here. If Garza is to take less years, base money and no NTC, he needs to have something to even it out.

    All I know is I'm glad I'm not the on negotiating this thing. It's not going to be easy to get a deal that both sides love.

  • i think any possible extension with garza needs to be laced with incentives. i think something like this would be good for both sides
    2013: 10 mil (its what he'll make in arb and hes coming off injury)
    2014: 11 mil (plus 3 mil in innings related incentives)
    2015: 12 mil (plus 4 mil in innings related incentives)
    2016: 16 mil (team option)

    this ends up being a 14 mil AAV (if he reaches his incentives), which is probably a little under his free agent market value. since hes searching for a no trade clause we can include a trade kicker of 2 mil if he ends up getting traded.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    Like the trade bonus idea. Going to take a lot of creative thinking to get something like this done to where both sides benefit.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    we can also give him a signing bonus in addition to the deal i have structured above. a 4 mil signing bonus makes the deal an even 4yr/60mi, making that an AAV of 15mil. i also think there should be a "his 2016 team option automatically vests if" type of incentive. therefore even though it is a team option he has control of wether it can vest beforehand. we need to be creative, but smart at the same time. i dont like the idea of an opt out clause and hes not getting a no trade. i think with the way the free agent market is heading a #3 starter making 15mil per year isnt gonna be uncommon and i believe garza is better than a #3.

    if we sign garza to a 3 or 4 year deal, and then get samardzija to sign an extension we have our #2 and #3 starters in place for the next few years. then we have wood, cabrera, vizcaino, pierce johnson, possibly our #2 pick and any guy that we possibly pick up in trades to slot in at the #4 and #5 spots even though they could be better than #4 and #5 pitchers.

    at this point 3 things can happen.

    we can have a rotation full of #2's and #3's who are underpaid: garza, samardzija, vizcaino, johnson, (one of appel, manaea, stanek)

    we can trade for a number one to head our rotation

    or we can hope that king felix or kershaw fall through into free agency and give them a blank check, we'll be able to throw HUGE money at these guys because most of the cubs team at this point will be signed to undervalued contracts.

  • In reply to jshmoran:

    I don't like an opt out clause either. Just throwing a few things out there. You've got some pretty good ideas here on your contract. I could live with something like that if Garza's agreeable.

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    In reply to jshmoran:

    Some really good ideas!

  • Added a bit in the piece. I think a short term deal without an NTC would have to be awfully creative. Talked about incentives as one way, but perhaps an opt out clause is an option.

    If Garza way outperforms his contract and thinks he can do better on the market, maybe you throw an opt-out clause in there. Tough to do, though, without compromising his trade value a bit because it's a potential loss of cost control.

  • John,
    I've been following Cubs Den since Theo/Jed were hired but this is the first time I've acutally posted a comment. Would it not make sense to front load an extension with Garza to maximize his future trade value? The Cubs certainly have the financial resources to pay the lion's share of the extension in the first year or two, Garza would be getting more of his salary earlier in the contract, and if Theo/Jed do not get any offers of value for Garza the Cubs could just hold onto him and have more resources available for potential free agent acquistions down the line.

  • In reply to rdacpa:

    I think it's certainly possible and it could benefit the Cubs because of how their payroll is structured. It's a tough sell, though. Players like to make sure they're protected and financial secure (in their terms, not ours :)) in the future. It's easier to do in football where the union is pretty weak, but it might be a lot harder to get it done here. You don't often see baseball contracts structured that way. I can't think of a prime example, actually.

    It's a good example of a way to try and think creatively, just don't know if its doable in this environment.

  • In reply to rdacpa:

    Front loading sounds nice, but correct me if I'm wrong, you don't see that too much in baseball. Seems to be more common in other sports with salary caps. If I'm garza's agent seeing what Greinke just got I let him pitch out the year and hopefully cash in (with Cubs or whoever). I think Cubs have to pony up if they want to sign him. Maybe a little hometown discount, but I can't think it would be much.

  • Works for me! It's going to take some determination from both sides to get a deal done. There are pro's and cons for each side. It seems Garza wants to be here and loves his team/team-mates. He could've spent his DL time at home with the wife & kids like Stewart.....

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    I'm going to pose this and sure to get a lot of flak for it, but here goes. Been doing a lot of thinking about the Rangers acquiring Upton and seemingly needing a third team involved in the trade. What if the Cubs were to shop both Shark and Garza to the Rangers and trade one of our top prospects for one of the Diamondbacks. Before all of you say this isn't likely, it would be interesting to explore if Derek Holland is involved, especially when you've got two of the best farm systems in baseball that the Cubs would deal with in this trade. Just not a big fan of a Garza extension at this point.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    I'd rather have Samardzija than Holland, so we better be getting a lot from those farm systems. Like Profar and Skaggs a lot.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Really, you'd rather have a guy who's had success at a younger age than Shark with a team friendly contract. I suppose. No way we'd get Profar back (though I like him, too) Skaggs is definitely interesting because of the SP depth Arizona has.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Samardzija is flat out a better pitcher. Better fastball. Almost exactly a full K/9 higher than Holland. He's probably a bigger question mark, but he's kind of a 1.5 starter right now. Holland is probably a 3.

    But you're not only trading our two best pitchers, you're also trading a "top prospect" -- which means Baez, Almora, or Soler. So you're giving up our best trade chip, our best pitcher, and one of our best prospects. The return better be overwhelming. Honestly, even my Profar and Skaggs may be low.

    Final point: the Cubs could easily get a return similar to Shields for a cost controlled Samardzija in 2 or 3 years. Derek Holland at his ceiling couldn't get Myers alone.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    But let me just pose this question to you: Even in a season where he declined in other stats, Holland's FIP was better, his walk rate didn't change and ERA+ was still respectable at 97. So is he a lesser SP, or the benefactor of playing in one of the WORST ballparks for SP in MLB. A top prospect trade would have to be with Arizona so you'd be getting a top SP, like Archie Bradley, for one of ours. Really would rather have a top-line SP prospect. Bradley would be our top SP prospect by far, and you still keep most of the young core intact. For the Cubs, yes, but for other teams (esp those in playoff contention), you're overvaluing him. Especially after 1/2 of a season where he pitched well. He gives up the long ball as much as Holland you consider that as well. I personally don't think Shark at this point could get remotely what Shields got for the Rays. He has yet to prove anything other than a 1/2 season of success.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    According to Fangraphs, Samardzija's FIP in 2012 was 3.55, Holland's was 4.75. xFIP attempts to balance for ballparks that give up home runs. Holland's xFIP was 4.14. Samardzija's was 3.38. You're undervaluing Samardzija. John had a great article a few weeks ago where he pointed out Samardzija just lacks control from being a true #1. Holland lacks control -- and the plus pitches.

    If everything goes absolutely perfectly right, Archie Bradley turns into Jeff Samardzija. Holland and Bradley is not even close to a fair return for 3 of our best assets.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I disagree with relying on stats for some things. Holland has plus pitches and very good stuff. As for the FIP it doesn't calculate everything. The pitchers pitch selection is a effected by stadium. If he was in a more pitcher friendly park he maybe willing to pitch to contact.

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    In reply to WickitCub:

    Okay, if I grant that -- the pitches still aren't as good as Samardzija's and the trade is still bad.

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    In reply to WickitCub:

    Moreover, if the problem is home park altering his pitch selection, you would expect him to be dominant on the road. While he's better, I wouldn't use the word dominant. One example: Holland gave up 1.55 HR/9 on the road last year. Samardzija gave up 1.03 (home and away).

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Again it could just be about pitch selection and you have to remember Holland is almost 2 yes younger then Samarjza. His stuff is not better then Holland its just different. A LHP that can hit above 95 at times is nothing to sneeze at.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    If only he was in the age range of 24-27, I would agree that could be a #1 starter. His HR rate concerns me though, especially given the fact that he facing lesser lineups in the NL. As far as Bradley goes, well that's the end-game the FO is playing here anyway. So, I suppose you could compare that with most of the prospects in our farm system. Also, why do you keep saying that it would just be Holland and Bradley? People seem to be of the belief that Garza has no trade value in any scenarios. In mine, he be part of a solid Texas rotation.

    The Nats, also in contention for a WS, signed Haren, whom the Cubs wouldn't trade for with Marmol. Now, should Haren go down with those issues, not only did the Nats overpay but would find themselves sending prospects to replace innings lost at the back of the rotation. In my scenario, Garza becomes part of the rotation. So, Holland and Bradley would be the only pieces the Cubs would receive completely underwhelms this trade scenario.

    Also, point of contention, when comparing players, I prefer comparing best season to best season. I understand it's a small sample size, but in 2011(and his most productive season to date), Holland 's xFIP was a solid 3.76. He lacks control as well? Hmm...I think that's a bit of a stretch. It seems to me you're cherrypicking a bit with your stats analysis.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    So you choose the FIP from his best season and accuse me of cherry picking stats? That was also the only season his fastball sat above 92. The velocity was down last year. Not a particularly good sign.

    Tell you what: what is your full trade proposal, with names?

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    @Mike Moody Actually, I have more questions. You're for an extension with a limited numbers of years for Garza. How do you his velocity won't drop this year with the arm issues he's experienced. He would be part of the trade I'm proposing. I'd rather have another team deal with that. Second, ok Holland's velocity has dropped? Do you know why? Curious myself to know. Third, how do you explain than it a lesser year, Holland's WHIP lowered and strikeouts per 9 stayed the same? If his velocity was down wouldn't those things change and not in his favor? Fourth, Shark was converted from a reliever to a starter, right. So, it's known that when that happens one's velocity goes down.

    Before I get caught in the 'ol "I give you names, you shoot them down" game, I think we've got lots more to discuss here.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    You're right.

    Derek Holland is a better pitcher than Jeff Samardzija. This is a brilliant trade and I hope the Cubs make it. I'm sure the hold up will be the Rangers.

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    In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    @Mike Moody Wow, don't give me an explanation. Just get sarcastic. Now, I see why you get defensive. Could be the serious virus he got mid-season or his arm angle? If his health is that serious an issue, then fine you win and I wouldn't trade for him over his health issues.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Why in the world would they want to shop shark? I best case scenario they get a guy who might turn out as good as him in a few years. With them being so desperate for pitching I would think he is right below Rizzo on the untouchable list.

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    In reply to jimmy mac1:

    Why would you keep him? If Theo and Jed, believe that SP peaks at age 28-31, then look at Shark's age and this team and tell is he really going to make a difference? Who's to say that the Cubs, would get SP back? I think Holland is already that "guy who might turn out as good as him." And you dealing with two of the best farm systems in MLB--better still.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Both Garza and Samardzija are better pitchers than Holland. And you are going to give up two productive, under 30 SPs for a lesser SP and a prospect? That seems like a huge step backward to me.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    But, one has injury issues. And then other--can't say I agree with on Shark being better, John. Haven't seen enough of him to say that as definitely as you. I think Holland hasn't reached his potential yet and is younger with more cost control. Think he could benefit heading to the NL and out of Texas as well. You're also dealing with the Diamondbacks I think the return, you've proposed is well unrealistic and underwhelming. Think you'd get more than just one prospect from both teams...sorry to disagree but I gotta here. But hey that this point of this blog, isn't it?

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    That was what I interpreted as your return. It was unclear to me in your comment. I didn't come up with any trade proposal.

    As for Holland, he has lesser stuff and roughly equal command as compared to Shark. Don't see a higher upside even if he does get better. Even if you give Holland the benefit of the doubt, it's not a big difference at all -- and Shark is better right now. I don't mind getting Holland, it'd be great, in fact. But trading Shark to get him is robbing peter to pay paul. At best you're running in place.

    And no worries about disagreement. That's the point. Wouldn't be fun if we all agreed all the time :)

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Let me just pose something to you though. Even in a season that was worse for him than 2012, Holland still maintained the same SO/9 rate, reduced his hits per 9 inn, and lowered his WHIP. I don't think he was the benefactor of pitching in Rangers ballpark against AL lineups. For the same reason, I also don't think Lohse would be should he sign with the Rangers, as has been rumored because he pitches more to contact much like Holland does.

    Also, Shark's HR rate gives me concern.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    Sorry, I must have missed it. How are you related to Derek Holland? :)

    Aren't these debates fun?

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    In reply to jimmy mac1:

    He's my second cousin removed ;)

  • I don't agree, John. Someone will panic and overpay like the Royals just did. The Cubs are so far away from contention that I just don't see the benefit of locking up a 29 year old starter, even if he's our most talented pitcher.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    If someone panics and makes overpays, then you deal. You don't have to do this extension today.

    But he's 29 and if nobody is giving up value, you can hang on and see if you contend by 2015. Nothing wrong with having a 31 year old talented veteran in middle of a rotation. He'll be far from over the hill at that point.

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    I like jshmoran's proposal for multiple reasons. I think this would show FAs that this is a destination and not just a place to be flipped for prospects. Garza is a competitor and a leader: the Anti-Zambrano. He wants to win and should still be strong in 2014, 15 and possibly 16.

  • In reply to Louie101:

    I think if he's healthy and the Cubs are winning, it makes a ton of sense to hang on to him long term.

  • Give him a 3 year deal with 2 mutual options. Trade him no matter if he is pitching beyond his contract. He will net a very good haul before of control.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    Agree with the contract idea, but not the trade him no matter what part. What if the Cubs are a contender by the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and/or 5th years? Wouldn't you rather have an established pitcher than prospects in that case?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Actually no. In 2 to 5 years Samarjza should be that established pitcher they want. I also don't think you are looking at Holland wrong too. You realize he is almost 2 yes younger then Samarjza and almost 3 younger then Garza. His stuff translate to a front of the rotation pitcher. I believe if you got him out of Texas he will be a much better pitcher.

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    Question: Shouldn't we try to lock-up Shark first?

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Possibly. There's more time with Shark, though. Not a free agent until 2016 and maybe both sides want to learn a bit more before committing.

  • Jason Grilli officially signed with the Pirates. Reportedly got bigger offers elsewhere, possibly by the Cubs.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Grilli would have helped out the Cubs' 'pen, but I respect players, and anyone else, that don't place money above all else.

  • Agreed Ray.

    There are rumors that the Cubs have offered more money for both Grilli and McCarthy, but money isn't everything to everyone. Speaks to the character of both players that they didn't just opt for a few extra dollars.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    True, but I think it's more productive to excoriate Theo for not spending more to win now.

  • I think signing Garza long term should have been the goal all along.....if you look at the Free agent market for pitchers over the next 2-3 years, Garza is right up there....between Garza,Shark, Viscaino, Wood, and next years first Rd pick you should have enough starting pitching depth to contend in 2-3 years

  • In reply to NIKOMAN:

    There's certainly a way to make this work with Garza. Conventional wisdom has said throughout that the Cubs need to trade Garza for prospects, but conventional wisdom isn't always right. We really don't know either way. We do know that when healthy, Garza is a very good pitcher capable of going toe to toe with the best in the game.

    If the Cubs get good value for Garza, I'm good with that. If they don't and decide to extend him instead, then I'll be happy keeping him too.

  • I think we need to resign Garza to an extension and keep him. You can do worse than having Shark and Gaza in your rotation.

  • In reply to Paris:

    Both still pretty young and can still be good when the Cubs compete. I'd certainly rather keep guys than sell 50 cents on the dollar.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Totally agree John and plus keeping both speeds up the rebuilding process. Now

  • I don't think Garza takes such a deal though. He knows if he has a killer walk season he's going to get paid big time. Plus if stability is that important to him, he might want to get a NTC which he knows this FO won't offer. But we know he likes it here and this FO has been able to talk players into things that have surprised me before (like Stewart on a non-guaranteed deal in a weak 3b market), so we'll see.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    All good points. Cant know for certain how much Garza is willing to give up in exchange for stability and staying in Chicago.

  • Completely agree. The Cubs probably caught a break by Garza being injured. He's a warrior with no hit stuff. Those guys don't grow on trees. I think he should be a core piece. I'm not at all convinced he'd bring any core pieces back UNLESS we sign him to a somewhat team friendly deal. When you have a good young veteran who really wants to be a part of your team its worth a lot more than three or so prospects. There's a very real possibility that any young pitcher they get for Garza will never be as good as he is right now. Take Chris Archer for example...what are the chances that he has a better career/peak than Garza? That's a big 50/50. Sure, he's got good stuff. Even the top 10 RHP prospects right now (Bundy, Walker, Bauer, Wheeler, Cole, Taillon, Bradley, Miller, Fernandez, Tejeran) three or four of those guys won't survive (and by survive i mean they won't play out as true #1's). Matt Garza was once a prospect in that echelon and even HE hasn't gotten to lockdown ace territory. But he's a really good BIG LEAGUE pitcher right now and will be for at least another 5 years. Health permitting, of course. Lock him up!

  • In reply to Ben20:

    "The Cubs probably caught a break by Garza being injured. "

    Are you kidding me? If he hadn't gotten hurt, there is a high probability that we would have a name like Castellanos or Olt at 3rd right now. His injury seriously derailed the rebuild.

    I agree that Garza is a good pitcher right now, but 3rd base is a gaping black hole for us with no immediate relief in sight.

  • In reply to MarkOlberding:

    I meant in terms of keeping the price of an extension down. Probably should've elaborated on that. The injury concerns probably will end up saving them a few million dollars. I will add that there's no guarantee we would've ended up with Castellanos or Olt. Furthermore there's no guarantee either of those guys will be stars. They may. They're both legit, no doubt. I agree that 3rd is a hole but there's help on the way. Its not a hole in our system. If Garza gets moved there will be a gaping black hole near the top of the rotation. There IS a gaping black hole of frontline starting pitching in our system. But no, Mark I'm not kidding you. Wouldn't do that to a knowledgeable Cubs fan!

  • In reply to MarkOlberding:

    The Garza injury is unfortunate as it took away a big option for the team-- a chance to pick up some long term value. Maybe you can still make the best of it but I agree you can't say it helped right now.

  • If Theo can get two MLB ready pitching prospects for Garza, then trade him.

    Anyone wants to pay Garza $16 million per year?

    By the time July comes around, 90% of the Cubs fans will want Garza out of town.

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    I was just looking at the Washington National's record over the past 5 years. They went from 59 wins to 98 wins in those 5 years. I say this because many here (including myself) have said it would be great to follow the National's model for building a squad.

    So we see about a 66% increase in wins over those 5 years. That's about a 13% rate of increase each year.

    Chicago Cubs had 61 wins this year. If we follow this train of thought we should see the following:

    2013: 69 wins
    2014: 78 wins
    2015: 88 wins
    2016: 99 wins

    Now we all know baseball is a funny game. And we could see major fluctuations in any of the projections in any year. But if we can just keep this pace why o why would we want to trade Garza, Shark or yesterdays big talk of trading Castro?

    Theo has told us over and over that this is more like a 5 year rebuild. It's gonna be bumpy along the road. So if we've already established that we have 3 core players in Shark, Rizzo and Castro can we just forget trading them in any way for prospects? Shark is NOT getting past his prime. He barley used his arm in college. He was more of a football stud that also played some baseball. His best years are still to come, imo.

    This is all just my opinion but let's add to that core and not take away to hope for more "core" pieces in the future. We have guys that may not be part of the long term future. Those are the assets we trade. Keep drafting smart, developing our guys and get ready for our dynasty to come.

    I have never better about our chances to be a yearly playoff team than I do right now. And according to my calculations a wild card birth may start in 2015 by the latest.

    This should also coincide with that first "wave" of talent that Theo told us he wanted to produce. Any other talk outside of that is just noise to me and needs to be tuned out!

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    We might want Garza to be a major part of this playoff run as well. A 3 to 4 year extension sounds like the right medicine to me....

  • Look at the deal that brought Garz to the Cubs. Lee/Archer/Chirinos/Guyer/Fuld. Any impact talent there?? Here we are two plus years down the road. None of those guys have made any kind or "core" impact for the Rays. Archer is just now becoming a somewhat viable rotation option. Lee's a good player. For sure. Yet to make an impact in the bigs. Chirinos and Guyer are fringe contributors. Fuld is gone. Love Sammy, by the way. I'll make the case that trading him for anything less than a big league-ready blue chipper (which he most likely wouldn't net unless a desperate team overpayed) would actually set the building process back. Who would you rather have in 2014? A 30 year old veteran with really good stuff or a 22ish pitcher with good stuff and no/very little major league time competing for the 4th or 5th spot?? Then where are we at? What if the 22ish yr old misses? That happens. Pay Garza. After all, its not like each of us have to send the Ricketts family a twenty dollar bill every month! Its not our money!

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Tampa's hoping they get two starters out of this deal right now but there's a chance Archer winds up in the bullpen. Lee looks like he can play SS defensively but there are questions starting to emerge about his bat. Neither player looks like a star, though both could be solid starters.

  • That is what was so frustrating about the injury with Garza. It could not have come at a worse time, it was at the point where it was sign him to an extension or trade him. Now there are just so many variables.
    The 2010 Matt Garza was a 4.9 WAR pitcher, worth 18-20 million minimum a year on the open market.
    The 2011 Garza was a 1.2 WAR player, with inflated numbers and injury questions.
    The value is probably somewhere in the middle. Garza has a tough choice to make. Do I pitch this year and become a free agent. If he puts up numbers like 2010, he will get a potential 100 million dollar contract. But how can the Cubs go there now? To many question marks.
    Would like to see both sides compromise, and look at something like a 4 year deal for 60-70 mil.

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    And then we could possibly have Shark, Garza and Appel/Manaea as are top 3 pitchers! Oh My!!!!!

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Really looking forward to this draft. Should get a college arm that will move quickly.

  • I still say what I said a year ago around this time. The Cubs are (still)in a good position in regards to Garza. Certainly value has changed for Garza since last year at this time, but with the reality of the current situation the Cubs are still in a good position. If and when Garza proves healthy and back to form at the end of spring training, if a team wants to overpay for him with a great package that outweighs keeping him long term, go ahead and trade him. If not and he pitches well, when the trade deadline comes and if someone's desperate enough to overpay, trade him. I understand they would only get him for a 2 month rental, but I thought we got a pretty good return for Dempster and Maholm this past deadline. Again, as long as they give us surplus value. Not saying it's gonna happen, but it is possible. If we don't trade him, we still can extend him or at least offer him a qualifying offer and get a pretty decent draft pick. If we extend him (and he agrees to it) at the end of the year/offseason, it will cost us more money. But we'll have a lot more doubts removed at that point. And I believe we can afford the extra cost of his contract, while at the same time having the benefit of less risk having waited. I just don't think it's imperative to have to extend him early just so we can save a few buck at the cost of having to endure more risk.

  • In reply to Bill:

    I agree. The Cubs need to play this as it comes. They can't rule out trading him if the right deal comes along. They've always said they'd err on the long term side, so if they can get long term pieces, they'll do that. If not, there are worse things in the world to have a 29 year old SP with his kind of stuff.

  • Cubs, Yankees and Angels left the StubHub Ticket program.

  • EJax wants a 5 year deal.......Next.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    He won't get it. I'm sticking around and talking to him until the bitter end.

  • I'd have no problem offering Garza a contract with a full no-trade clause for 2013 and a limited no-trade clause thereafter (perhaps five or six teams). I'm thinking three years, with a mutual option or a vesting option for the fourth year.

  • In reply to cubsin:

    I like the idea of a 3 year deal with some kind of option. I don't know if the Cubs will give out any kind of NTC though.

  • Please extend Garza. The Cubs are not all the far off from being extremely competitve in the division. For the sake of conversation, lets say the Cubs take Appel with the #2 pick. You have a core of Garza, Samardzija, Appel. Assuming Scott Baker bounces back from TJ surgery, I don't mind adding him to that mix. That's a very strong 4 guys to have for the next few years as you continue to develop the raw material you have in your system in regards to pitching.

    In the pen you got Fujikawa added to the mix. You move Marmol at mid season and insert Arodys into the setup role and move Fujikawa to the closer spot. Mix in guys like Cabrera, Russell, McNutt etc.. and your pen is strong.

    The lineup is a little weak now, but I agree with Marcel, I don't think BJax is all that far from being solid solution for CF, hopefully by May/June of this year. Castillo is an upgrade from Soto both on offense and controlling the running game. Castro and Rizzo are on the brink of becoming big time impact players. We are closer than we think here. The division isn't all that great.

    There is no magic formula of waiting and poof, Almora, Soler and Baez will be here in 2015 and we're good. It's highly debatable if they'll be ready, and if they are, it's likely they will struggle. We need solid players for the now, and we can bridge to the next wave, when that wave is ready. Keep building, but there's no reason not to extend a young guy like Garza. Why trade him for guys you hope can possibly become him down the road? Especially now when his value is down, and the best way to maximize his value is to extend him at a discount coming off injury, and have him be a core member of your staff moving forward.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    I have no problem getting guys who fit in the long term plan. Garza could potentially fit and still be a big contributor when this team starts winning.

  • john and tom i was wondering how you guys first met. and who started cubs den?

  • In reply to kingpro98:

    Despite growing up just a few miles from each other, Tom and I didn't actually meet until we both started blogging. He had a blog called Cubs Insider and I started Cubs Den. We decided to combine forces after getting to know each other.

  • I know this is far off but i personally want the cubs to draft sean manaea. But i was wondering if someone would be able to tell me his ceiling if at possible

  • In reply to kingpro98:

    I don't think you are that far off.

  • In reply to kingpro98:

    His ceiling is a #1 starter. We'll have more info on him, possibly tomorrow.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Is this an article on Manaea or on all our choices? I hope we get a chance at him.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    A full scouting report is coming I already have it written up and sending to John tonight.

  • Hate to break up the party, but unless Garza gets hurt again this year, I don't think there's any way he's signing a short term contract with incentives. Have you seen the $$$ that's getting thrown around at guys like Anibal Sanchez? Garza's looking at 5ish years for $15M or so per if he gets through this year without injury. Unless he's willing to give a HUGE hometown discount, he'd be crazy to sign any of the short term, incentive laden packages thrown around.

    Now, if he gets hurt during the year, that's a completely different story.

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    In reply to TulaneCubs:

    And I guess he'll know exactly when an injury is going to happen before it occurs so he can rush into Jed's office to sign that extension?

    Just say'n.....

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Maybe not. It may take a little more than that but I don't think he's at a position of high leverage here. I'm sure the Cubs can extend him for considerably less than Sanchez at this point

  • Sry for the late response, but I just have to say 'Yes Yes Yes!!' Resign Garza, fer crying out loud!!! I dare anyone to name 5 Cubs pitchers in the last 20 years who are more valuable than Matt!! Go ahead, take your time, think about it.

    JA, you are right (as usual). This is really an opportunity for the Cubs, because conventional wisdom (I'm talking about the really smart folks here, not the Wrigley exec types) says trade him. But this is one case where the smart folks are wrong. Matt Garza is going to win a full diaper-load of big games in the next 5 years. It should be with the Cubs, because we have him.

    Let people quibble about his injury last year, whether he still has value, last year on his contract, blah blah blah blah.....
    Matt is our guy. Period.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Ha! No doubt on your opinion here. Garza is a very good pitcher and no reason to think he won't continue to be very effective as Cubs turn this around.

  • John its been sent to your email.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    I got it. I posted it as a guest post.

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    We will find out what the true direction of this team is in the next few months. If they seriously try on extending Garza if they believe he's health enough, then we can all breath easier that the good times and winning ways are really coming soon.

    If they bark at his asking price assuming its in the ranges most have discussed here and try to trade him for some prospects, then we can look forward to this "running in the same place" mode we are in until we can get real lucky that we get a core 4 similar to the yanks did in the late 90's and make our run. ( don't hold your breath)

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    I just wanted to post this to see what kind of feedback I would get. The 2013 season is most of all a lose. It's look that way to us but behind the scenes without us knowing I see a plan and I wanted to share with you what I believe our Front Office is doing.

    The 13 season is going to be better then last year. At least I'm sure it won't be a 100 lose team. The FO will be putting together core of players to help the ones we have coming. Behind the scenes they are making plans to fix and upgrade Wrigley Field. This will happen in the 2 years before the 15 season. They will make this ballpark the place to play. More Night games and better everything. I'm telling you they are planning something big.

    After the 13 season David Price and Robinson Cano will be Free Agents. I know you think the Yankees won't let him go but Cano is got to be tired of playing in New York and He wants to test FA. It's getting around to all players that this team is close to winning and there is not a baseball player in the world who wouldn't want to be on the Cubs team that finally wins it. Cano might not be the best defensively but without a doubt he's the best hitting second baseman in the game. We will have all that TV money and thats not even close to the money they will have to spend.

    Now you need 8 more on the field and the starting rotation is going to be put together to be one of the best in the game. Oh yeah and the 8 more players. I believe this line up will look something like this.
    LF bjax-He is going to figure it out.
    CF Albert Almora-He's already a stud.
    RF Jorge Solar-A stud on the making and they aren't going to split these two apart.
    3B-I'm hoping Stewart turns himself around. At least I know he can be great on D. He can hold it until Beaz is ready.
    SS-Castro and he is only going to get better.
    2B-Cano! enough said.
    1B-Rizzo He will be one of the best in the game.
    C- Welington Castillo and Dioner Navarro.

    Everything will be in place for this team to be dominate for years to come. If you can't see then read between the lines because you won't be asble to see it any other way.

  • In reply to RClax3:

    Price isn't s FA until 2016.

  • In reply to RClax3:

    Cano would be an amazing sign based on the offense he could bring to a position. Would represent a huge upgrade. Guessing there will be a lot of competition for him. Will be tough to sign him.

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    I would expect a major signing of that sort to be a corner outfielder, based on the current strength of the Cubs system. There are a lot of options for 2B, especially when you throw the SS prospects into the mix (Baez anyone?). But we don't have a lot of power hitters for the outfield. I appreciate your trust in BJax, but I'd be surprised if he turns out to be an above-average corner outfielder. If he figures things out, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets flipped for prospects in a few years if Almora looks like the better option in the outfield. But that's the beauty of a good system and an aggressive front office. You can potentially deal from strength to keep your system topped off, even if you're no longer picking at the front of the draft.

    Plus I'm not as big a fan of Cano as you are :) But that's probably because he's a Yankee. Price on the other hand, I'd happily take when he's available.

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