Thanks to back-to-back great starts to begin the season – and a high profile throw that was SportsCenter’s number one “Not Top Play” this week – Matt Garza’s name is shining brightly in lights these days. We were already on edge a bit about the Cubs’ plans for Garza, who is under contract through 2013, but with each passing start, questions about whether the Cubs are going to extend the 28-year-old or trade him are going to continue to mount.
Chicago Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein addressed some of those questions, and offered a bit more than he usually does on the subject. But, as is his way, he played things very close to the vest.
‘‘Anytime you’re contemplating significant personnel moves, you have to look at the organization as a whole and where you’re going,’’ Epstein said, according to Gordon Wittenmyer. ‘‘One week’s worth of performance, let alone one season’s worth, doesn’t necessarily impact that significantly.”
Epstein, of course, means not only that Garza’s performance over two starts isn’t going to dictate how the Cubs proceed, but also the Cubs’ overall performance. Epstein went on to describe the lens through which he’s viewing a decision on Garza’s future with the Cubs.
‘‘Some issues are best examined up close, from 10 feet away, and some are best examined from 10,000 feet away,” Epstein said of the Cubs’ plans for Garza. “That’s probably one that falls in the latter. It’s sort of a big-picture issue.’’
That’s a very dispassionate view of a very popular player, which is how you want the guy running the show to proceed. It would be very easy to be caught up in both the crummy appearance of the team as a whole and in the good early performances of Garza, and perhaps make a snap decision about locking Garza up long term (to engender positivity from the fans) or deal him for prospects (because the team looks crummy overall). I’m glad to hear that Epstein remains committed to thinking about things like this within the overall context of “the plan,” and isn’t going to be swayed by early season small samples.
Not that I expected him to behave any differently.
As for the future of Garza, I remain open to either an extension or a trade. I could see either approach being good for the Cubs long-term, depending on the dollars/years in the extension, or the prospects/players in the trade.