Cubs Avoid Arbitration With Matt Garza, Agree To One-Year Deal

By Randy Holt

Much has been made of the case between Matt Garza and the Cubs that was set to head to arbitration this Friday. With the Cubs submitting a salary figure of under $8 million, and Garza’s camp going over $12 million, there was a great deal of intrigue over which way an arbitrator could go.

As it turns out, none of that really matters. The Cubs agreed to a one-year deal with Garza, worth $9.5 million. That brings his salary up a good amount from the just under $6 million he earned last year.

Garza is still arbitration eligible for 2013, but the deal avoids it for the 2012 season. That keeps Theo Epstein’s track record of not going to arbitration intact. Which is something already very familiar to Cub fans, who have had to deal with very little arbitration issues over the years.

Assuming he’s in a Cubs uniform in April still, Garza becomes the ace of the Cubs’ starting staff, which has seen a tremendous overhaul. Depending on how things play out in the spring, Garza and Ryan Dempster could be the only returning starts from the rotation that started the 2011 season.

Garza’s first year in the National League was a wild success. He pitched to a 3.32 ERA in 198 innings pitched. His 10-10 record is in no way indicative of how well he did pitch.

Which is what has led to his name coming up so much in trade discussions this winter. With the Cubs taking advantage of the few assets that they do have, which has resulted in more trade than anything, Garza’s name has been floating out there for the entire offseason.

That arbitration figure he posted, at $12.5 million, was expected to throw some teams off, on top of the fact that the Cubs are asking the world for him. As of right now, they’re not in a position where they absolutely have to deal Garza and could end up holding onto him until at least the trade deadline, if not sign him to an actual extension.

You can be sure Garza’s name will continue to circulate, especially towards the end of July, but at this point it’s very likely that he at least starts the season in a Cubs uniform, and will likely be taking the hill on Opening Day.

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