Cubs, Garza Talking Extension

11:48pm: Garza tells reporters (including Gordon Wittenmyer) that there is a "50-50" chance he signs an extension.  Garza helped his trade value even more tonight by allowing just one earned run over seven five-hit innings in the Cubs' 8-2 win over the White Sox.

3:15pm: Garza and the Cubs are not close on his value, reports Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, and a trade is still the likeliest outcome.  There are "no teeth" to the reported extension talks, adds Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, who tweets, "He'll be traded."

1:30pm: For the first time in more than a year, the Cubs are having discussions with Matt Garza about a long-term extension, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  A trade remains possible for the 29-year-old, who is perhaps the best available starter.  A similar report comes from Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com, whose source says the sides haven't had serious discussions about a long-term deal but haven't ruled it out.  The reports from Heyman and Rogers came within minutes of each other, though Heyman mentioned it first on MLB Network.

Garza has made nine starts this season since returning from a stress reaction in his elbow and a lat strain.  The injuries ended his season last year on July 21st.  This year, Garza has a 3.45 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 1.10 HR/9, and 37.8% groundball rate in 57 1/3 innings.  He's allowed three earned runs in his last 30 innings.  Garza takes on the White Sox tonight at U.S. Cellular Field.

Garza's value is difficult to peg, given his history of durability followed by the long layoff.  Last offseason five starting pitchers received deals of three or more years, most of whom did not have draft pick compensation attached.  A salary in the $13-15MM range seems appropriate for Garza, but from a team point of view it would be difficult to guarantee more than three years.


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