It’s Day One of the post-Koyie Hill Era (well, technically he could be re-signed…), and there will be plenty to discuss on non-tenders from other teams, as well as the latest on Prince Fielder. Until then, I’ve got a sick kid at home and a sick self at home, so I’m muddling through the Bullets…
- Various reports note that Matt Garza could be in line for a contract extension after receiving his tender yesterday. “Could be in line”/”Is in line” are phrases that imply some speculation, and also are generic enough always to be true. Sure, Garza could be in line for an extension. But he could also be in line for a trade. Garza is in his third of four arbitration years, and figures to make $8.5 to $9 million in 2012, and then upwards of $11 million in 2013. He is 28, and an extension would seem to make sense for the Cubs only if they can buy out a free agent year or two at a discount (which discount Garza would theoretically give in exchange for the security of a three or four-year deal). In free agency, Garza could get $13 to $15 million annually, so, given the two arbitration years and a theoretical slight discount, what kind of deal is fair for both sides? Three years and $32 million? Four years and $42 million? That’s the range I’d be thinking about if I were the Cubs. Any higher, and you’re probably just better off letting him play out his two arbitration years, and then seeing where the chips fall.
- Make no mistake in that preceding discussion: Garza remains on the trade block. If the Cubs get a great offer, the extension discussion is mooted. I don’t expect the Cubs to seriously talk about extending Garza until they are certain that trade talks will prove fruitless.
- Carlos Zambrano resumed baseball activities yesterday. The activity? A home run derby, naturally. Zambrano is finally expected back on the mound (he took a liner off the face a few weeks ago) on Wednesday. The injury proved a real bummer for the Cubs, who no doubt hoped Zambrano could show some great stuff over a sustained period in Venezuela. As it stands, he might make a couple more starts to add to a few decent starts back in November.
- Bryan LaHair is back in the Venezuelan Winter League (for those keeping score at home, that’s there and back, there and back, and there again).
- Cubs’ minor league pitcher Robert Coello is now former Cubs’ minor league pitcher Robert Coello, having signed with the Blue Jays. Having been acquired by the Cubs last year in an old-prospect-for-old-prospect swap (Tony Thomas) with the Red Sox, Coello didn’t show much in Spring Training and then showed even less in the minors. He’s got the stuff to make a big league pen, but he was out of time in the Cubs’ system.
- A visual depiction of the Cubs’ third baseman between Ron Santo and Aramis Ramirez (via @ClubhouseCancer). Who’s your irrational favorite (I’d probably go with Tyler Houston, who was mostly a catcher):