The Chicago Cubs and Matt Garza will avoid arbitration. On Jan. 18, both sides reportedly agreed to a one-year contract. The deal is worth $10.25 million. That was an increase for Garza, who made $9.5 million in 2012.
Due to an elbow injury, Garza missed the last two months of the 2012 MLB season. Garza finished that season with a 5-7 record and 3.91 ERA. He has resumed throwing and, along with Scott Baker, should be ready for spring training.
For the last two years, Garza has been the center of trade controversies. Had Garza not injured his elbow, there was a chance that he would’ve been traded before the 2012 July trading deadline. The Cubs are hoping that Garza gets off to a hot start. That would give them more options when the July 2013 trade deadline arrives.
Should the Cubs trade Garza? As a short-term asset, trading Garza could bring some good prospects to a depleted farm system. As a long-term asset, Garza is good enough as a middle-of-the-rotation starting pitcher for any pennant contender. Since 2007, Garza hasn’t finished a season with an ERA higher than 3.95.
At age 29, Garza could play a key role for a rebuilding franchise. Him getting a long-term contract will largely depend on what other teams offer for him. Would any teams become desperate enough to trade a top prospect for him? Time will tell.
Look for Garza to compete with Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson for the Opening Day start. The rest of the rotation would likely be filled with two of the four pitchers: Travis Wood, Carlos Villanueva (maybe), Scott Feldman and Baker.