In the spirit of timeliness, let's recap the previous season of the team's tastiest trade bait, one Matt Garza.
Recapping his numbers, he had a 10-10 record with a 3.32 ERA. He left with leads several times, only to have them blown by the bullpen. Many of those blown games were due to defensive lapses. Also several more of the games in which perhaps he threw pitches well enough, he left the game behind, not because of poor offensive support, no no. He induced hitters to dribble grounders that he himself either a) was not able to field cleanly, and/or b) he threw the ball away. His fielding percentage was below .800, which is easily the worst in the majors amongst qualifying starting pitchers (although better than Chris "Not Cris" Carpenter's .667).
It appears that other teams are seeing the grounders that Garza induced, and turning a blind eye to his inability to retrieve said grounders.
Surveying national baseball media, Garza's name is the big one currently for teams looking to trade for starting pitching. According to the Outside, the Cubs are Years Away, and by the time they are relavant again, Garza will no longer be under financial control (he has two more years left before free agency kicks in). So, taken another way, out of all pitchers on big league rosters, Garza is the name of the pitcher who is most sought after as trade-available. And, out of all Cubs players, Garza is the man, not Starlin Castro, who is being mentioned as the man someone wants. Well, thought I, we do have two, count em, two years of financial control here. We don't have to be hasty about getting rid of the guy, regardless of what Phil Rogers thinks.
Rogers seems to think that in order for a trade to work, that we would have to get back as much, if not more, than what we gave up for Garza last winter. I guess this is a cogent thought, but it's wrong. Nothing that was done last winter has any bearing on what is happening now.
I am not advocating that we dump Garza, far from it. His age, physical abilities, and mastery of secondary stats like WHIP seem to fit nicely into the new Cubs Way. I am here today to make one point, one that has been borne out time after time, one that, if you can cite a contradictory example, I can turn around and cite 20 that make my point.
I realize Garza is under 30 years of age, and presumably if we were talking about a typical well-adjusted human being, that we could expect emotional maturity out of him in the next few years. But my ass is just chapped raw from years and years and years of one mope after another popping their heads up to defend and coddle the pampered, self-entitled idiots who wear our teams' uniforms. "They're young, they'll grow up and be the men they need to be to be great".
Apparently Matt Garza plays baseball with what charitably can be called "enthusiasm". I would call it other things: lack of focus, out of control. No, he doesn't lash out at his teammates like Carlos Zambrano, he is more socially aware than that, thank God. He isn't a bad actor, a clubhouse cancer, or anything like that. It's a syndrome you see more in the NFL, where some guys never manage to sync themselves to the pace of the action on the field. In an attempt to keep up, guys do things too quickly, let themselves get too uncontrolled, and miss blocks, throw interceptions, fumble balls, commit dumb fouls. He is not in sync with the game. He has great stuff, maybe as good as anyone's,
He's just....just...a spazz! I'm sure throughout his life, he's had so much physical ability that he has been able to compensate, but here, at the top of the game, it has caught up to him.
I understand this is woefully unscientific, but I would bet non-trivial amounts of money and personal belongings that professional scouting reports say essentially the same thing, just perhaps in more acceptable language. If that is the case, perhaps Theo and his Young Band of Baseball Executives see the same thing and figure spazziness is an affliction that has to be treated early on, that Matt Garza is far too far along in his development to be treated for spazziness, and perhaps his fine secondary stats can be translated to a nice trade return.
Or maybe its all just a wad of horsecrap in an otherwise sluggish offseason of talent acquisition. Surely we aren't going to go into 2012 with the 40 man roster and the $95 million payroll we currently have?