Cubs, Matt Garza Avoid Arbitration with 1-Year, $9.5 Million Deal – Wrigley Field 2/3/12

Posted on 03 February 2012 by Lou

The Cubs and Matt Garza avoided a scheduled arbitration hearing today when the 2 sides reached agreement on a $9.5 million deal for the 2012 MLB campaign.  Graza had requested a $12.5 million salary (more than double the $5.9 million that he earned in 2011), while the Cubs countered with a $7.95 million figure.  Both sides were probably “way off” on their numbers, so it was a good idea for the 2 camps to agree somewhere in the middle.  Garza has gotta be happy with a near $4 million-raise, and the Cubs are going to have to decide very soon whether or not they intend to trade Garza before the start of the season or ink him to a long-term deal.  Theo & Co. have to be hoping that one of the big teams – NY Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Anaheim Angels or Philadelphia Phillies – get hit with a starting pitching injury during training camp.  If that happens, they might get the right package that they’ve been waiting for for the reliable and durable Garza.

In his first full season with the Cubs, Garza went 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA.  He had a stellar 8.96 K’s per 9 innings and he also had another 7 games in which he left with the lead but got tagged with a no decision when the Cubs bullpen blew it.  At only 28 years old, the Cubs could also consider signing him to a long-term deal (somewhere in the range of 5 years-$65million), but given where his agents requested a $12.5 million salary for 2012, that might not even get it done.  Plus, given how Theo & Co. continue to try to get younger and deeper, they may be more inclined to trade Garza, stock-pile some young talent, shed more salary and wait to fight another day when another top-tier free agent pitcher is out there.  If some of their young pitchers mature and develop as expected, they could use the extra salary to bring in an ace to complement and tutor the youngsters.  Guess we’ll see how it all plays out…

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