Matt Garza Actually Requested $12.5 Million in Arbitration, Not $10.225 Million

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.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

126 responses to “Matt Garza Actually Requested $12.5 Million in Arbitration, Not $10.225 Million”

  1. Fishin Phil

    That is so high, I think Theo may actually go to arbitration on that one.

    1. ferrets_bueller

      I’ve got to agree with that…especially because, while having a settlement thats that high would hurt his trade value…his trade value at the Cubs number, if they win, would never be higher.  Of course, the problem with going to arbitration is obvious- you have to cut down the value of your own player, which is the exact opposite of everything Theo has been doing all offseason, talking Garza up.

    2. ty

      No way does Theo want to take Matt into a three hour arbitration hearing. He wears is emotions on his sleeve and Carlos Pena had to initially convince the Cubs that he would be cool. These hearings can be so negative especially for a star player who is comfortable with fans and agent blessings. Many of the decision making arbitrators have no background with baseball at all. A player could win his hearing and still come out scarred—either trade him or settle outside.

      1. JR 1908

        I hear you. But Theo needs to set a precedant. Players need to know that if they are asking for more than they should be Theo isn’t afraid to take them to arb.

        1. loyal100more

          very true statement. how about an extension that nets garza 12M for the next 5 years? that seems like a bargain to me

          1. BetterNews

            Going to be interesting, for sure.

            1. loyal100more

              i would love for the cubs to extend garza 60M for 5 years… but thats in a perfect world huh?

      2. OlderStyle

        “A player could win his hearing and still come out scarred—either trade him or settle outside.”

        Garza is probably banking on this to force the situation. Theo could call his bluff, go to arb. and win, or find a trade partner or start earnest talks about an extension to keep the employee happy.
        No matter what, it’s a high-wire act for Theo when you publicly speak about “assets” in the long and short-term but you’re still ultimately managing human beings. I will be watching to see how well he handles this situation.

  2. Bails17

    Go to arb…win the case…trade him for mad prospects!  Next.

  3. DocWimsey

    What happens if Garza is traded before resolution? Does his new team get to submit a new offer in lieu of the Cubs, or do the Cubs trade their offer at the same time?

    (I’m sure that this has happened before, but I don’t remember an example.)

  4. FromFenwayPahk

    “only one number can be chosen – either the Cubs’ offer, or Garza’s request. …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.”

    Brett at his sharpest in the highest leverage situation

  5. Bails17

    If he loses the case…would work out better for the Cubs…this could get very interesting.

  6. oswego chris

    very, very intriguing…throws a huge wrinkle into everything….do teams totally back off at the chance of him getting the 12.5?…do the Cubs now have to extend him, or at least settle before trading him?…does this mean he wants to force the Cubs to have him stay or trade him?…

    the 3 to 1 win ratio for owners Brett, where did you get that from?…I am not doubting it, just curious….

  7. Smitty

    Very intereting play by Garza’s camp. I wonder if the braintrust will buck their normal stance of not going to arbitration. What is your initial thought on that happening Brett?

  8. BleedBlueinWNeb

    anytime i read that Brett is bummed out, it puts a real damper on my day! Hopefully we deal Garza for some legit ass prospects and move on. As of now i’m in full blown “loving the re-build and prospect gathering” mode!

    a little off topic…i’m a somewhat new iphone4s (proud) owner. I’m wondering what the best baseball apps are for iphone? i’ve read up on the 2 bill james apps and fan graphs…anyone have any opinions on the best apps to have and hold close to my heart?

    thanks fellas…

    1. DocWimsey

      Yahoo has a pretty good app for their fantasy leagues if you play there. That way, you can spend time with the wife and do something important all at once!

      MLB’s “radio” package is cool: I’ve used that for the last 3-4 years to follow all the Cubs games and any Sox game not opposite the Cubs.

    2. npnovak

      i just use twitter…follow mlbtraderumors and various other baseball sources. best way to get baseball news quickly on the go

  9. JulioZuleta

    The Cubs will win if they go to arb. As much as I’m hoping for a trade to happen sooner rather than later, his value would go up at a salary under $8 million.

    1. JR 1908

      I agree with that. If you look at his extremely high asking price for arbitration as a slim to none chance of winning. Why don’t the Cubs (or whoever team he is on) just take him to arb and pay him less than they originally thought they would have too? Wouldn’t the team getting Garza be happier because they would be getting him less than the 8.5-9 mill. that was originally projected?? Everything i have seen there is no way he wins in a arbitration case with that #…

  10. OlderStyle

    I would guess Garza’s camp is trying to force a trade or get an extension (possibly with NTC). It makes sense for Garza, sucks for Cubs but it’s strictly business.
    If I was Garza I wouldn’t want to be continuously dangling on a string for a trade at any moment. It requires resolution for the sake of the player’s mindset and the org’s long-term plans. as a fan I’d like to see resolution.

    1. loyal100more

      good point. if nothing it does add urgency to the situation. it robs us of using time to our advantage. but man say what you want about “it just biz.” the constant trade talk surrounding a player has got to take its mental toll.

  11. loyal100more

    the fact that theo has never taken a player to arb. seems kind of moot. i agree that this is a bummer because much like the article suggests i believe this is garzas first real indication that he doesnt want to stay in chicago. further more it could make the extention option vanish,thus giving us no choise but to trade for whats available rather than what we want.

    1. rcleven

      Take him to arb. Do not extend and trade now or before deadline. He is asking what he thinks he is worth on the market. If traded what does he have to loose. He can always sign extension with a new team for more money. Looks like a win win either way for Garza. Only way he looses is he goes to arb with Cubs looses and is not traded. Good move for him.

  12. loyal100more

    i think if you win in arb. at under 8M you got to trade him.

  13. Leo Deleon

    Just read that Soriano blocked a trade to Baltimore. Have u heard anything Brett?

    1. Luke

      Got a link on that?

  14. deej34
  15. DCF

    Pretty weird story, but I’d also like to know what happens is he’s traded before the arb is ettled one way or another. Do both numbers still stand in that case?
    Either way, I’m not sure what Garza might hope accomplish here other than flipping the bird towards the Cubs.
    He has exactly 0% chance of winning his case, so he’s almost forcing Theo to go thru with the arb and it takes away all leverage for a possible extension talk, as he’s now fixed to pitch for under $8 million this year if he’s not extended.

    1. Toosh

      The numbers stay the same if a player’s traded.

  16. Leo Deleon

    Reported by Jon arguello of the den.

  17. loyal100more

    !@#$% soriano!!!!

    1. Edwin

      Why? He made it pretty clear he wanted to be traded to a contender. Baltimore is not a contender. This is exactly why players want No-Trade clauses. Who cares if he may or may not have declined a trade?

      1. TWC

        Well, we care because it impacts the Cubs.  But we really can’t blame him.  I mean, it’s freaking Baltimore.

        1. Edwin

          It’s Baltimore. The gods will not save him.

          1. TWC

            Nice.  Well done.

        2. Luke

          It’s not like the Orioles are that far out of it. After all, if the Yankees all got lost at sea, the Red Sox were all abducted by aliens, the Rays all came down with a long duration strain of swine flu, and the Blue Jays collectively decided to play cricket instead of baseball, the Orioles might have an outside shot at winning the AL East.



          Good grief, the Orioles are even worse than I thought. Current Vegas odds for the Orioles are 100 to 1. For the Cubs, 30 to 1. That’s harsh.

          1. TWC

            That’s my problem.  I’m never looking at the big picture.

        3. loyal100more

          im more upset that the deal had to be made with baltimore… i dont blame sori, but i sure would have loved to see him and his contract gone… i mean we have no idea who the trade was for or any details and were already sorry that it didnt happen… man thats bad, we are deal happy arnt we?

        4. BleedBlueinWNeb

          ahh…THE WIRE

      2. DocWimsey

        I gotta agree with Sori: I mean, what possible incentive is there for him to go to Baltimore?

        1. Edwin

          Maybe he’s a big fan of The Wire?

          1. chris margetis

            That would be reason enough for me. Indeed.

        2. Dave H

          18 million of them would motivate me.

          1. DocWimsey

            He’s got the $$$ as it is. And he can watch “The Wire” anywhere…. (It’s probably filmed somewhere else, you know!)

            1. TWC

              Nope.  That show was proudly filmed 100% in Baltimore.

              1. Kyle L

                I mention this last night; favorite show of all-time. And it’s not even close.

                1. Rick Vaughn

                  Somehow my name changed. Weird.

            2. BleedBlueinWNeb

              in fact if you google earth it or whatever…you’ll feel like your on the prowl for a bag of heroine, it’s kinda weird.

          2. BleedBlueinWNeb

            The Wire was filmed right on the streets of baltimore…google earth it and check the streets out. pretty crazy.

        3. Mick

          There you go, that’s the key. What incentives can we offer Soriano to waive his no trade clause? Would it be attractive to Soriano if we restructured his contract to escalate his annual salary so for instance he would be paid $30 million this year, $15 million next year, and $9 million the year after that?

          1. hansman1982

            find a contending team that needs a DH, like Detroit.

            1. loyal100more

              he fits for a year or until v mart comes back… than what? hes gonna have to come soooo cheap to get a return

            2. loyal100more

              with the options at DH on the market for a one year fix like damon or matsui, it gonna be hard to find a contender thats in on soriano.

    2. rcleven

      Looks like Soriano just relegated himself to the bench.

  18. BD

    Not sure if this has been mentioned- but if he is trying to get himself traded, couldn’t he submit a high number, wait to get traded and then agree to an arb number much closer to the expected $8M or $9M??

    1. rcleven

      Not to be smart but why would he do that?

      1. BD

        In order to get traded off of a rebuilding project. He knows he would settle around $8-$9M anyway, so if gives a much higher number (one where he’s not going to win the case), it could force the Cubs to move him instead of paying higher than they wanted to.

        Just a thought. It sounds like something you might try if you want to get traded to a contender.

    2. DocWimsey

      Arbitration is your number or theirs: arbiters do not offer compromises.

  19. aCubsFan

    It’s too bad that MLB arbitration isn’t like the NHL where the team, if they lose, can walk away from the player and he becomes a free agent. This late in roster formation would leave Garza with very few places to go.

    It’s also crap like this and Soriano’s refusal to go to Baltimore that turn fans against players and professional athletes in general.

    1. DocWimsey

      Every other team in baseball would drop someone from their 40 man roster to land Garza.

      And this does not turn me against the players. They have a right to live where they like and to make as much of the money they create as they can. Look, I love Theo, but I’m not paying to listen to him talk stats: I’ve got dozens of books on those already. And I’m certainly not paying to keep owners happy.

  20. Jeff L

    Everything to do with Garza and Soriano doesn’t really matter. All that matters is figuring out what kind of owner we are dealing with in Ricketts. Now I did a little research on the Boston Red Sox as a good comparison since we now have Theo Epstein.

    Payroll for Epstein under the Boston Red Sox

    2003-Lowest Payroll Epstein would ever have in Boston 99,946,500 ranked 6th in MLB.. Still much higher than 79,868,33 the Cubs had when they went to the NLCS under Henry!

    2004- First World Series Championship- Payroll jumps to 127,298,500 ranked 2nd in MLB

    2005-123,505,125 2nd in MLB
    2006- 120,099,824 2nd in MLB

    2007- 143,026,214 2nd World Series Championship- Payroll jumps 23 mil who says money can’t buy championships!!!

    2008-133,390,035 4th in MLB
    2009-121,745,99 4th in MLB
    2010- 162,447,333 2nd in MLB
    2011- 161,762,475 3rd in MLB

    Bottom Line from all of these listings of Red Sox payroll under Epstein is to show that the new GM of the Cubs never worked with a payroll under 6th in the league. When he won Championships with Boston, the Red Sox ranked 2nd in payroll. Each one of those years the payroll jumped over 20 mil. This really is to show that if you want to get the most out of Epstein you need to give him the resources to do his job and go out and get a guy like Darvish who recently signed with the Rangers. If you wanted a guy who worked in the opposite direction Ricketts should have gone out and got Andrew Friedman of the Rays. If you have a sprinter for a racehorse you have to let him run. If you want someone who starts slow and finishes strong like I said Friedman is your man.

    1. Hawkeyegrad

      You have to remember that while the Red Sox payroll may have been second in the MLB under Theo, t was still only second in the AL East. After Soriano’s contract falls off the payroll, Theo will likely enjoy a $30 million payroll advantage over the next closet division foe. That is a luxury he never had in Boston.

    2. Matt

      The Cubs won’t be a small market payroll type of a team. Even though the players aren’t here, their contracts still are. He is getting rid of them, so we can build back up. I can bet the payroll will stay high. He isn’t lowering payroll, he is dumping it, because the talent isn’t worth the price.

  21. Leo Deleon

    Isn’t NY unhappy with Burnett? Sori for AJ. Should bounce back in National league Sori goes to a contender.

    1. rcleven

      NY doesn’t need a DH for 3yrs though.

  22. Matt

    They aren’t going to trade bad contract for bad contract.

    1. Mick

      Who isn’t going to trade a bad contract for a bad contract and why not? The Yanks need a DH and the Cubs need SP depth. Burnett’s contract is a year shorter than Soriano’s and he can pitch in both leagues. Soriano can only play in the AL and will only go to a contender. Even if we had to eat all of Sori’s 2014 salary we’d be LUCKY to make that deal. Plus, we could turn around next trade deadline and trade Burnett for the much needed prospects.

      1. loyal100more

        i agree. it makes more sense to us than the yanks. though i have to agree its a perfect fit with all the pieces, and needs presented.

  23. loyal100more

    neither team will contend, but he could play the DH everyday and probably be productive in that roll. here hes gonna be in a platoon in left, not to mention the fans just might be ready to not look at him anymore.

  24. JR 1908

    At some point Theo has to take a player to arbitration. Otherwise, your going to have just what Garza did and players ask for way to high of a price. Players need to know that if they are rediculous you are going to aribitration.

  25. loyal100more

    soriano is gonna where the label “cancer to the club” with fans while platooning in left. that in opposed to playing DH in the AL everyday, with no pressure from the fans and ball club. man baltimore seems to be a great distination from that prospective. who cares if theyre gonna contend, the cubs are not. boy i can talk myself into any trade that involves this guy…

  26. rbreeze

    Alfonso beware the wrath of Theo!!!

  27. loyal100more

    give him the mid point out of arb. and back to the blocks with him

  28. loyal100more

    damon had a great year last year and can do more than just DH, also i think pena is an attractive piece to a contender at DH on a one year deal.

  29. loyal100more

    soriano to a contender just seems so highly unlikely.

    1. colocubfan

      I can’t think of any contenders that would want him!

  30. rcleven

    When Sorino sits on the bench for half a season he will be begging his agent for a trade.