Cubs May Start Extension Talks With Garza Soon

The Cubs spent most of the winter gauging trade interest in Matt Garza, but now it appears they're willing to discuss a long-term commitment. GM Jed Hoyer spoke to reporters (including Gordon Wittenmyer of The Chicago Sun Times) upon arriving at the team's Spring Training facility today, and said the two sides could being extension talks soon.

"We focused really hard on getting the one-year number done a few weeks ago," said Hoyer, referring to the one-year, $9.5MM contract the two sides agreed to a few weeks ago, avoiding arbitration. "We didn’t have any kind of long-term discussions before that, but certainly there was some dialogue about possibly having some long-term discussions at some point maybe this spring … I think we probably will sit down and talk."

Garza, 28, can't become a free agent until after the 2013 season. He made at least 30 starts and threw at least 180 innings for the fourth straight year in 2011, pitching to a 3.32 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 during his first season on Chicago's north side. Garza has said he's open to an extension with the Cubs earlier this offseason.

17 Responses to Cubs May Start Extension Talks With Garza Soon Leave a Reply

  1. get it done NOW!!!

  2. imachainsaw 3 years ago

    (would be) smart move, with more years under team control, his trade value goes up accordingly. plus, even if not traded, locking up a good #2 is never a problem.

  3. xcal1br 3 years ago

    Pitchers of his caliber do not grow on trees.  Lock him up for five years and build around him.  The only thing he can be traded for is a ton of potential.  He is the real deal right now.  There is no reason to trade him for some “maybes”.

    • Is he really so good that you build around him? And how many years will you be paying top shelf money for him to pitch for teams that won’t contend? I’d say trade him for guys who could be on the next good Cubs team.

      • xcal1br 3 years ago

        I think he is good enough to build around, especially since there are potentially a bevy of quality starting pitchers hitting the free agent market over the next two years.  If the Cubs sign him to a five-year extension and they are not a contending team by then, I doubt Theo will still be around anyway.

        Like I said, we could trade him for a few pieces that may or may not pan out.  If we keep him, we have one of the top 50 or so starting pitchers in all of baseball right now.  He is entering his prime and by all accounts is an excellent teammate.  I don’t see the downside to keeping him.  The new front office has already overhauled the farm system enough to bring it into the top twenty (they were near the bottom).  If they end up landing Soler it can only go up from there.  I don’t think we need to get rid of a player like Garza just because we are rebuilding.

        Now, all of that being said, if they can pull off a big bang package at the deadline, then by all means go for it.  The return would need to be astronomical in my mind, or it isn’t worth making the deal.  Trading a known quantity for a group of unproven pieces with “potential” is always a gamble.

        • He’s a pitcher, not a hitter. He may have peaked already. Plus there’s great risk that he gets injured if you hold him. I just wouldn’t want to pay him $40 million worth of contract to pitch for teams with no shot. I like the player, but it seems like a misallocation of resources to sign him long term.

          • xcal1br 3 years ago

            Pitchers generally don’t peak until their late twenties to early thirties, which is right where Garza is now.

            There is always the risk of injury, but that is a much smaller risk than betting on unproven prospects who may end up in Iowa for five years.

            I don’t believe that Epstein’s plan involves being out of contention for more than this year and next.  If we sign Garza for five years, he will only be thirty when the team is set to contend again and will still be locked up for three more years.  Not to mention, it is a lot easier to woo other quality players to your team if they know they are not coming to a glorified farm team with a few flagging veterans used as roster-filler.

          • Injury isn’t a smaller risk than prospects, because of the money involved. Also, at some point you need to bet on your scouts. Of course, if the right trade isn’t there, it isn’t there.

            The Cubs shouldn’t be worried about wooing players right now. Their team isn’t ready for big free agents.

            Pitchers do not peak in their late twenties and early thirties. Pitchers peak earlier than position players, generally.

          • xcal1br 3 years ago

            If that were true, then most pitchers would not be playing into their thirties.  Do you not realize that the average age for a starting pitcher to start their MLB career is 22?  Late twenties starts at 27.  That’s a pretty short window to get the best from a starting pitcher.

            You definitely have it backwards as position players tend to get worse after they turn thirty, especially if they aren’t juicing.  Their reflexes get slower and they can’t run as quickly to first base.  Pitchers tend to get better into the middle of their careers because they are still learning to pitch to major league hitters at that point.  Just take a look at some of the great pitchers over the years and you will see a trend of decent years at the beginning of their careers, then their best years from age 26-33, then a downward trend as their body starts to wear down on them, but they still know how to pitch.

          • But you’ve got a selection bias, because you’re only talking about guys who had long, great careers. There’s a huge number of guys from Steve Avery to Dontrelle Willis to Scott Kazmir who are basically done by their late 20s.

            And I didn’t say hitters peak in their 30s. They peak from about 27-32.

          • xcal1br 3 years ago

            Which is exactly when pitchers attain their peak performance.

          • Some do, sure. But I hardly think it’s the norm. 

          • Also, if you go through Garza’s most similar pitchers on baseball reference, there are an awful lot of guys who were basically done by 31. If I had more time, I’d go through his PECOTA comparables too.

          • xcal1br 3 years ago

            Wow, you’ve got me beat.  I don’t even know what PECOTA stands for.  Not a big fan of Sabermetrics.

            It’s been great  debating with you though.  Thanks.

  4. disgustedcubfan 3 years ago

    Signing him to a long term deal makes him an even better trading chip.
    Theo is smart enough to not pass out “no trade” clauses to everyone in sight,  unlike our departed Jim Hendry.

    • I don’t think this is true. How often do pitchers get traded soon–or at all–after signing high-level long term deals? You shouldn’t sign a veteran pitcher to a long term deal unless you want him long term or think you can win early in the contract. The risk of injury is too great.

  5. Tyler 3 years ago

    Gee ya think?

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