Matt Garza appeared on MLBN Radio this weekend and discussed a variety of topics, including his future in Chicago. At present, the Cubs and Garza are engaged in the arbitration process, in which Garza has requested a 2012 salary of $12.5 million, and the Cubs have offered $7.95 million. Among the more interesting things Garza said:
- On the constant stream of rumors attached to his name: “I’m not a big rumor guy. If something sounds interesting, my agent might give me a call … but I haven’t gotten a call all winter. Sometimes it’s more hype than anything. I go about my days normally.” There was a report just before the Winter Meetings in December that, prior to leaving for a week-long trip to Italy, Garza’s agent warned him to be on alert, because he could come back as a member of a different team. Maybe that was the last time Garza and his agent spoke about trade possibilities. Somehow I doubt it. I credit his attitude, though – this is a guy who’s been traded twice, and is the subject of rumors every Winter.
- On his willingness to discuss a long-term extension with the Cubs: “I would definitely be open to it. It’s more of a matter of something my agent and Jed would have to sit down and pound out. I’m more than happy where I’m at right now. I don’t mind dealing with the snow. It’s something different and I like it” An extension has always been a possibility, but we need to be honest with ourselves: Garza’s very aggressive arbitration ask suggests an extension would have to come on similarly aggressive terms. This front office – we’ve heard the mantra – pays for future performance, not past performance. Asking for $12.5 million in his third year of arbitration tells me that Garza sees himself as at least a $16/$17 million pitcher in free agency. Would the Cubs commit four or five years to Garza at that price? Hard to say.
- On the immediate future of the Chicago Cubs: “I feel we have a great team that’s going to take the field this year and I like it. I’ve been with the youth movement and I’ve had nothing but fun with it. I’m excited to get this thing rolling and see what we’ve got.” And, of course, Garza is just 28, so it’s not as though he’s an old man on a young team – though, he could soon be one of the oldest players on the team.
- On interacting with Theo and Jed et al: “I don’t really deal with [the front office]. I just go out and pitch. I like my pitching do the talking. I let my agent handle the business side.” I would imagine that would change in-season, but, for now, it makes sense – why would Garza be interacting with the front office directly, particularly with a potentially contentious arbitration hearing looming?
- On his time in Chicago: “I love Chicago. I love playing the day games. I’m a morning person, so the day games are the cat’s pajamas.” Yes. He actually said “cat’s pajamas,” which may be the most awesome thing I’ve ever heard a profesional athlete say. I *must* remember to incorporate that into my lexicon going forward.