It’s awkward to talk about Matt Garza as a Chicago Cub in 2012. I want conflicting things at the same time.
On the one hand, I like Garza a lot (he’s the cat’s pajamas). I think he was one of the best pitchers in baseball last year, and I love his intensity. When I look ahead to the 2012 season, I want to watch Matt Garza pitching for the Cubs.
On the other hand, I think Garza’s value is at its peak – he’s 28, is under control through 2013, and will make a reasonable $9.5 million in 2012. I also think the Cubs are not likely to be particularly competitive in 2012, and think Garza could net the Cubs an impressive return in trade. When I look ahead to the 2012 season, I want to see the Cubs trade Matt Garza for a huge return that will help the team in 2013 and beyond.
To date, I haven’t figured out how to reconcile those competing desires. For now, I guess I’m just resigned to being excited to watch Matt Garza, but also excited if the Cubs get a good return in trade for him. Maybe that’s not really all that conflicting.
But what about Garza? Does he want to be dealt? Does he want to stick in Chicago long-term? Well, you wouldn’t expect him to say anything but the latter, right?
And, indeed he did, in an interview with CSN while on his way down to Arizona for Spring Training.
“Yeah, why not?” Garza said when asked if he’d want to stay in Chicago long-term. “It’s a great organization to play for, with a lot of history, a lot of tradition and there’s great support from up top. What more can you ask for in an organization?
“Everybody who comes to Chicago knows about the city. It’s amazing. It’s so diverse. There’s so much you can teach [your kids here]. The fans are some of the greatest. They’re true diehard fans. To be a fan of a team that hasn’t won in  years – you can’t say [much more than that]. They’re the most loyal fans in baseball.”
Thanks, Matt. We try.
Garza also told CSN that he’s looking forward to the 2012 season, and is staying optimistic about the Cubs’ chances.
“There’s a lot of excitement and buzz,” Garza said. “There [are] a lot of hungry, hungry, hungry young guys who want to show what they can do. And like I said back in January [at the Cubs Convention], with young kids a lot of things [can] happen. It’s going to be a lot of fun to be down there and get things going.”
It’s certainly an optimistic view, but it’s also an accurate one – with a younger team, the theoretical possibility of upside surprises exists. In years past, there weren’t like to be too many surprises, given the team’s makeup of established, veteran players.
One thing is certain: the 2012 Cubs would be a lot better with Garza on the team than not on the team. Which direction is ultimately best for the franchise, however, remains open for debate.