In a correction to the figure reported earlier this week, Matt Garza’s requested salary for 2012, in his third year of arbitration, was not a very high $10.225 million. Instead, it was a very, very high $12.5 million.

Bruce Levine reported the correction, and Jon Heyman explained that he misread the chart previously ($10.225 million is the midpoint between Garza’s ask – $12.5 million – and the Cubs’ offer – $7.95 million).

Buster Olney earlier tweeted that “[in the v]iew of rival executives: Matt Garza’s $10.225 million arbitration request greatly complicates any interest in him as a trade target.” I responded to Buster that the suggestion made no sense, given that the midpoint between that request and the Cubs’ offer was about $9 million, a salary most expected Garza would get for 2012. He added that teams want cost certainty, and “aren’t wild” about the idea of having to pay Garza $10.225 million in 2012. I wonder if Olney had his info right, but his number wrong.

The difference may seem slight, at first – it’s just $2 million. But you must remember, whatever salary Garza gets in 2012 will directly impact his salary in 2013, and will directly impact the starting point for negotiations on an extension.

This is kind of a big deal.

I’ll be going into greater detail on the case for each number soon, but, in short,¬†Garza’s request is quite bold. Recall, if the case were to go to arbitration, only one number can be chosen – either the Cubs’ offer, or Garza’s request. There is no middle ground. Historically, teams have won arbitration cases at an approximately three to one rate, and Garza’s ask is very aggressive. It’s hard to see him winning, and instead looks designed to produce a high settlement from a President (Theo Epstein) whom Garza knows has never taken a player to arbitration.

Very shrewd. Very risky.

It could also be the case that Garza doesn’t particularly want to be part of a rebuilding team, and is trying to give the Cubs a nudge about getting him off the team – which would be unfortunate for the Cubs. The high request might make the Cubs more willing to trade Garza, but it makes him slightly less attractive on the trade market. The more I think about this, the more it is a bit of a bummer.



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