The hits keep on coming.

Matt Garza, the Cubs’ most valuable trade piece by far, will not pitch on Monday – the day before the Trade Deadline – as hoped. Instead, thanks to an MRI that still shows fluid in his right triceps (can’t we stop bs’ing people at this point and just call it a triceps “strain” and not a “cramp”?), he won’t pitch again until late next week at the earliest, Dale Sveum told the media today. Garza suffered the “cramp” last Saturday in St. Louis. He’s been on the DL all of about twice in his career, so the timing of this injury is … unfortunate.

Where this leaves the Cubs if they’d like to trade Garza is anybody’s guess, but it’s certainly fair to guess that the answer is “nowhere good.” Without having pitched in a week and a half, and with “fluid in his triceps,” it’s hard to imagine any team ponying up the kind of return sufficient to convince the Cubs that it’s worth giving up Garza.

Instead, they’re much more likely to hold onto him until the offseason, and revisit trade talks – as well as extension talks – then. There remains a teeny, tiny possibility that he can still be traded – after all, Garza says he feels good, and Sveum apparently described the MRI as “clean” – but, the emphasis is on teeny and tiny.

Deep breaths …

UPDATE: Here’s your tiny consolation. The Cubs (currently) don’t plan to put Garza on the 15-day DL, even though, by the time he returns, he would have missed some 13 or 14 days anyway. The only reason to do that? No, it’s not because you can’t trade a guy on the DL – you can, and that’s sort of beside the point, because whether he’s on the DL or not, teams know his injury. It’s because, if the Cubs DL Garza, a theoretical receiving team couldn’t start Garza until his DL stint is up, which could cost them a Garza start (for example, on Wednesday or Thursday next week). It’s small, but at least it’s a signal that the Cubs haven’t completely given up hope that a team or two might make an acceptable offer by Tuesday. Keep in mind, with Garza, unlike with free-agent-to-be Dempster, not being able to trade him isn’t the worst thing in the world. Yes, he’s got more value now than he’ll have in the offseason, but it’s not like it goes to zero in November.



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