What The Danks Extension Means For Garza

John Danks and Matt Garza have a lot in common. Both are above-average MLB starters in their late-twenties who were traded early in their careers. They’re arguably the best starting pitchers on Chicago’s two teams, and Baseball-Reference suggests they’re about as statistically analogous as two players can be. 

Matt Garza

As this table shows, Danks and Garza have had remarkably similar careers to date. Their rate stats are comparable and their career win-loss records and innings totals are nearly indistinguishable (Garza has recorded 17 more outs than Danks over the course of their careers). Not surprisingly, the two CAA clients have been linked to one another for years through arbitration.

Danks just signed a five-year $65MM extension, and Garza's agent Nez Balelo no doubt took note, since his client doesn't yet have a long-term deal. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein says he considers Garza a potential building block, so it's possible the Cubs will discuss an extension if they don't trade Garza this offseason.

Danks has 23 more days of service time than Garza and those three weeks matter a great deal from a contractual standpoint. Unlike Danks, Garza is a super two player. This means the Cubs control his rights for one extra year (through 2013) and means there’s less urgency to extend Garza.

Should the Cubs look to extend Garza, they’ll have more leverage than their cross-town rivals did, since the extra year of control buys Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer time. Garza projects to earn a total of $20MM or more in the next two years and the Cubs may look to buy out an additional two seasons for $14-15MM apiece if they explore a deal. Perhaps a four-year, $52MM deal would work for both sides.

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.

57 Responses to What The Danks Extension Means For Garza Leave a Reply

  1. tfsmag 4 years ago

    I hope the cubs keep Garza, but I understand that we could get some pretty darn good prospects by trading him. Loved his attitude and the way he’s always on the top step of the dugout as the teams most visible cheerleader even on days he’s not pitching.

    • joeybw 4 years ago

      There’s no doubting Garza competitiveness and talent but as the season gets closer and available SP’s continue to go, the Cubs might be able to get even more than they gave us Rays last year. I mean, I love what the Rays got and Fuld, Chirinos, Guyer and Archer should all be up at some point this year with the real prize Lee hopefully finding his way to AAA as a 21 year old. However, after seeing the Latos and Gio deals, Cubs may be wise to trade Garza.

  2. joeybw 4 years ago

    I’m gonna make a request and feel free to ignore me but I wonder how the Danks extension affects another leftie that his team would love to sign but probably can’t….David Price.

  3. BaseballWizard 4 years ago

    Why would Garza take less money and a shorter contract than Danks? He is coming off of a much better season, and looks to earn $3M or so more in arbitration this year vs. what Danks would have made on a one year value. If I am Garza, I insist on at least the same five-year term that Danks got.

    • joeybw 4 years ago

      Seems about right since I personally think Danks was overpaid and I agree Garza is better. However, that’s not how players normally see it and he might say “if Danks got 65 mil, I want 75 mil”

  4. optionn 4 years ago

    Everybody knows Theo is a “play it by the book” GM who does nothing risky.  He’ll hang onto Garza with almost 100% certainty.  Nobody is going to trade young players for a guy with 2 years of control who is not cheap.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      good think Theo isn’t the Gm then huh

    • Randy Malm 4 years ago

      Nice logic, I guess all of these top prospects being talked about are just fodder. Contenders must not see any value in adding Garza to their rotation, even if they’re in position for a World Series run.

  5. UltimateYankeeFan 4 years ago

    Why would Garza let the Cubs off the hook for 4 years $52MM.  I realize Buehrle was a FA but he just signed for 4 yrs/$58MM and he is 32 soon to be 33.  Garza is 28 and won’t be 29 until after the 2012 season.  Garza would be foolish to take the type of offer the article makes reference to.

    • BDLugz 4 years ago

      Because two of those years are buying out his arb 3 and 4 (super 2) years… that’s a major difference than 4 FA years.  It also doesn’t help that the Marlins overpaid Buehrle, it’s really a pretty bad comp.

  6. Hak-Ju Lee and Chris Archer are Top 5 Rays prospects, per Baseball America. So the Cubs will likely need two Top 5 — or at least Top 10 — prospects back in a Garza trade plus a couple of more lower-level prospects. If no one is willing to give up such a package then we could very well see an extension like this. I’m willing to go either way, but Garza shouldn’t just be dumped for vague “prospects.” A deal must involve at least two high-level players.

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      “the cubs overpaid, so another team will have to overpay”


      • The Cubs may have appeared to overpay for the pitcher Garza was with the Rays,  but he took a huge step forward in 2011 (from 1.6 to 5.0 fWAR). The market for TOR starters is also pretty thin right now. In addition, there are the precedents set by the Latos and Gio deals. Asking for top prospects in exchange for a proven starter like Garza is not asking another organization to overpay. Nope.

        • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

          Gio and Latos are both cheaper and under team control for 4 years..

          You’ll get a decent haul for Garza, but no where close to what the cubs paid for him or what the nats/reds paid for latos n gio.

          1 B+ prospect, 1 B prospect, 1 B- prospect should do it.

          • That’s a fair point, and I could see Theo & Jed getting negotiated down to such a package depending on the specific names involved. But the price needs to start high.

          • Wash_Williams 4 years ago

            That IS about what the Cubs paid to get Garza, or at least pretty close.  Archer=B+. Guyer=B-, Hak Ju Lee=B.

            Chirinos and Fuld were sort of throw-ins.  I’m not saying they were nothing, but they were guys the Rays sort of liked and were useful, but not guys considered huge prospects or of huge value in a vacuum by most objective analysts.

            So it wouldn’t really be that shocking if the Cubs were able to swing another throw-in or two to your proposed deal.

            Garza took a step up this year, which may raise his value a bit.  But also one less year of team control, which lowers it.  I think most teams would rather have that extra year and gamble Garza steps up (as the Cubs did last year), than a less-risky but much higher priced/lower leverage Garza.

            So in the end, yeah probably less than what they paid but “nowhere close” might be stretching it a little.  And it could end up yielding more if they get the RIGHT B+, B-, B prospects.  That’s where we Cubs fans are hoping Epstein knows his stuff.

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          “asking for top prospects in exchange for garza is not asking for an overpay”

          if this is all you had said to begin with, i probably wouldn’t haven commented. but you made an argument for garza’s value based on what the cubs paid for him a year ago. that’s not appropriate

          latos is a better pitcher than garza, but assuming they were equals, garza merits half the latos’ haul based on years of control alone

          when you factor in the difference in skill, age, and salary, it’s arguably less than that. but even 50% of that haul is not “two top 5 prospects plus a couple of low-level prospects”, which was your first suggestion

          • Guest 4 years ago

            what you said is spot on right dead on….it’s just a team’s willingness to overpay with upper tier prospects right now for pitching it’s maddening…..someone will over pay on garza…take it to the bank

          • I’d say Latos *projects* to be a better pitcher than Garza. But given Latos’ injury history and rumored attitude problems, teams might view the two more similarly risk-wise than we, as fans, may assume. And, to be clear, I’m not saying Garza’s value should solely be determined based on what the previous Cubs GM gave up for him. But if his value was X a year ago, it’s X+Y now. 

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            Y is likely a negative number, though, reflecting one less year of control and the fact that the cubs overpaid

            as for latos v. garza, here’s the last 2 seasons

            latos 86 FIP- 90 ERA- 3.33 SIERA 2.67 tERA
            garza 92 FIP- 92 ERA- 3.78 SIERA 3.98 tERA

            garza has made just one more start than latos over that time (63 to 62). here are the same numbers weighted for recency, as is done when projecting future performance

            latos 87 FIP- 92 ERA- 3.35 SIERA 2.69 tERA
            garza 89 FIP- 90 ERA- 3.70 SIERA 3.88 tERA

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            Y is likely a negative number, though, reflecting one less year of control and the fact that the cubs overpaid

            as for latos v. garza, here’s the last 2 seasons

            latos 86 FIP- 90 ERA- 3.33 SIERA 2.67 tERA
            garza 92 FIP- 92 ERA- 3.78 SIERA 3.98 tERA

            garza has made just one more start than latos over that time (63 to 62). here are the same numbers weighted for recency, as is done when projecting future performance

            latos 87 FIP- 92 ERA- 3.35 SIERA 2.69 tERA
            garza 89 FIP- 90 ERA- 3.70 SIERA 3.88 tERA

          • Amish_willy 4 years ago

            For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of watching Latos pitch when he’s on, is really missing out. He’ll have you convinced he’s the best pitcher in baseball during some of his stretches.

            Latos is IMO, now the best starter in the NL Central. In the West he had some stiff competition, as he would in the East, but the Central doesn’t have that guy, well until now. Reds fans are going to love him. When a player is cocky and arrogant, but also really really good, well it’s okay when he’s on YOUR team… sometimes its fun to root for the prick. Although I do have faith young Latos will mature and put a lot of these “concerns” to rest. 

            His best “stretch” to date looks like:

            05/1/10 – 09/7/101.64 era, 22gs (508 ab), 142ip, 89h, 9hr, 37bb/157k

            He was 22 years old when he pulled that off (a .490 OPS in 500+ AB’s!?!). His upside is truly ginormous! Was glad to see the FB hitting 96 with more frequency late in the year. The first month or two his stuff was noticeably down from the year prior. He ended the year like a man possessed, giving up a .582 ops in the 2nd half.

      • Randy Malm 4 years ago

        He did, arguably, put up better numbers in 2011, so it’s quite possible with what’s been happening with other available 2-3 starters, for him to be more valuable now then he was before we made the trade. It could end up being something that eventually benefited both the Cubs and the Rays

        • joeybw 4 years ago

          I love all the guys in the trade and I am much higher on Guyer than most but let’s face it, that trade comes down to what kind of major leaguer Lee becomes for us. Archer has a nasty slider but on our team, hes bullpen bound or trade bait, Chirinos has a good bat but still a work in progress as far as being a catcher. Fuld…well anyone who watches highlights know what he’s useful for. Guyer, I like but he needs to be given a chance for him to matter much. Lee is the key.

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          i’m not saying no one will overpay; someone might. i’m saying that garza’s trade value is not determined by what the cubs gave up for him a year ago

  7. Guest 4 years ago

    it means either theo is gonna have to pay the price or he is gonna get a massive haul……ask the nats and reds about that……..

  8. I would only trade Garza 4 a very good position player like a 1st baseman or a 3rd baseman…Prospects are always nice…but when U need want 2 rebuild u must start off with pitching ..but I would hold on to Garza at least til the trading deadline…I would rethink about making such move just look how the Cubs improved their pitching getting BIG Z back…& getting back 2 his old self with a new Manager will help out alot..the Cubs    now have a good pitching staff as far as the position players that’s a wait & see progress

    • Rangersfan32 4 years ago

      When you want to rebuild, you start with trading your most valuable players who don’t factor in to when the team should be good again (Garza) and through the draft. Garza should be traded now and whoever else Theo can get rid of. Then the Cubs need to invest in some top scouts.

      • I agree in theory but, as noted above, a Garza trade must bring back considerable (and, apparently, very debatable) value. The team shouldn’t necessarily feel pressured to trade him. Also, the Cubs have added several scouts since Theo & Jed took over — two or three from the Red Sox organization in the last week or so. Plus, it’s important to remember that Jed Hoyer also brought along Jason McLeod — one of the top scouting/player development guys in the game. Sorry if I’m going overboard with all this. Just trying to share info that fans of other teams might not be aware of.

        • Red_Line_9 4 years ago

          What I find interesting is the idea that every team can have smart baseball people in the front office and strong scouting departments.  Clearly, there are top GMs and top scouts, but some team still has to finish in last place regardless.  In my mind, having too many sabreminded GMs would create wild possibilities for exploitation.

          • Exploitation of what?

          • Red_Line_9 4 years ago

            The A’s model worked during the late 90’s and early 00’s because they exploited the inefficiencies in the market.  The OBP..etc.  Every team can’t possible build on that model.  The more teams that do, the more players are left to build using other team building models. 

            I guess it’s the theory that not everyone can be in first..someone has to be last.

            There are clearly different ways to build a successful baseball team.  If too many teams are attempting to use the same method..it creates opportunities…same as it did for Billy Beane and the A’s years ago.

          • Red_Line_9 4 years ago

            I guess a simple analogy would be if there were 10 KFC’s on the block…the person who opens a Burger King will have a distinct advantage.

  9. tommyhilfigure 4 years ago

    theo should get feilder 4 run support then trade prospects 4 halladay or lincecum then we would have r 1-2 starters and put dempster in the 3 slot

    • BDLugz 4 years ago


    • MetsMagic 4 years ago

      Yea theo should trade tray mcnut geoff smartja and sammy sosa to the braves for spahn 

    • Since_77 4 years ago

      Blame it on the egg nog

    • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

      He will…right now he’s trying to master Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. As soon as he’s done he’ll pop in MLB Front Office Manager and make that happen….pronto!

    • Guest 4 years ago

      and then…you woke up

  10. With the RedSox willing to give up a huge load of prospects for Gio and Bailey is it too far out there to say they may do a deal of Kalish, Lavarnway, Ranaudo and posisbly MiddleBrooks for a package of Garza and Marmol?
    Slot Garza at 3 behind Lester and Marmol as a set up of Melancon.

  11. windycitywarrior 4 years ago

    John Danks is not as bad as some of you are describing. Last year was a disappointment for sure but he is an ice water in the veins type of pitcher. Remember the black out game where he pitched a shutout? He was a monster. Starting out 0-8 last year had to kill his confidence and the White Sox always have a problem with chumping at least one of their pitchers every year for run support. Im not saying he is Koufax but you guys act like he isnt worth a shot in the big leagues. Just because Kenny locked him up for what he is actually worth and it sets the price for your teams pitcher higher than you like doesnt make him a bad pitcher. Sorry the White Sox can afford to pay Danks more than The rays can Price. And I dont believe that the Cubs would sign Garza anyways. And for my money I would take Danks over Garza being a leftie and younger. They are both outstanding pitchers but Garza isnt light years ahead of Danks.

    • cachhubguy 4 years ago

      If he has ice water in his veins why would he lose his confidence? Let’s face it, most lefthanded starting pitchers are over paid.

      • windycitywarrior 4 years ago

        He lost confidence because he kept pitching good games and the Sox were not scoring any runs for him and he was losing a lot of close games. That can wear on a guy after 8 starts and not only are you not getting any wins but your offense puts you in a position for losses. I agree Lefties are overpaid but thats the way things are. It doesnt make Danks any worse of a pitcher.

    • Guest 4 years ago

      garza beats down danks…..then craps down his throat….let me know when danks can get his era under 4

      • windycitywarrior 4 years ago

        Let me know when Garza can stay on one team and not be traded three times before he is eligible for free agency. Garza ERA-3.83/Danks ERA-4.03…yea he is SO much better than Danks…

  12. joeybw 4 years ago

    There is always value in simply throwing with your left hand though. Damn, Price is so gone within 4 years.

  13. start_wearing_purple
    start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

    You just mentioned them both in the same sentence.

  14. joeybw 4 years ago


  15. starting right now garza and danks can’t be mentioned in the same sen-

    damn it

  16. redsx968 4 years ago

    BLEACHER CREATURE used to be mildly amusing and witty with good baseball intelligence but is slowly becoming more and more annoying

  17. Lastings 4 years ago

  18. start_wearing_purple
    start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

    Is bleacher creature above his own rules?

  19. The_BiRDS 4 years ago

    Seriously? You’re claiming to be an internet celeb now because you use caps lock?

  20. start_wearing_purple
    start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

    To quote a line from The X-files, “don’t play the game.”

    Yes… I’m a Sci-Fi junkie as well.

  21. Leonard Washington 4 years ago

    Yeah more like two or three. I doubt they trade him right before the trade deadline of his FA winter. He will prob go with some years attached to him to maximize the haul. That is unless he feels the need to stay on at some Longoria like discount for no reason whatsoever. 

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