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We learned yesterday/this morning that Matt Garza, who’s been out since July 21 with what was originally termed “triceps cramping,” was sent back to Chicago to be re-evaluated after experiencing “stiffness” in his arm.

If that wasn’t bad enough for you, allow me to make it worse. That re-evaluation revealed a “stress reaction” in the back of his elbow, and now Garza is out “indefinitely.”

To be level-headed about this, a “stress reaction” is not necessarily as bad as it sounds. And “indefinitely” is not necessarily as long as it sounds. But the former isn’t good, and the latter isn’t short. If you’re looking for a silver lining, the “back” of the elbow is not where you tend to hear about a UCL problem (that’s the ligament whose tearing requires Tommy John surgery). Further, given the Cubs’ position in the standings, and Garza’s importance to the organization, you can understand extreme caution.

If you’re looking for a crappy lining, Garza won’t be picking up a baseball for a couple weeks, and, at best, will maybe make just a few starts before the end of the season. At worst, he won’t start again this season.

From there, if the Cubs were looking to shop Garza this Winter, they’ll face the same problem they faced at the Trade Deadline: teams are not going to pony up big-time for a guy with arm problems. Whether the Cubs were itching to deal Garza or not, this injury could be disastrous. And that’s to say nothing of Garza’s future, which I also care about (I like the guy, and want to see him continue to pitch well, wherever that might be).

I’m sure we’ll have plenty more on this tomorrow, and as the weeks – the painful, painful weeks – go by.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    OK, all of the calm I urged earlier today? You can scratch that. PANIC!!!!!!

    :-)

  • Steve

    Yes… Awesome news. Now, please come key my new 335I, ( nice and deep) steal my Harley, and while your at it…kick me really hard in my testicles. I mean, really hard, and preferably with a steel toed boot.

    Thanks….

    • Devin

      Single file people, single file. We will all have a chance to kick Steve square in the nuts.

      Remember Steve, this hurts us just as much as it hurts you.

  • Chad Walters

    Guess he’s not gonna effin make it Tuesday!

    • ron

      It could be worse…he could have just signed a huge extension !

      • Internet Random

        Amen.

        • Doctor_Blair

          +!

  • Chris

    This is bad. The best trade chip they had to restock the farm system comes up lame, and his value is forever tarnished. Aside from the injury factor that now plays a role, his value was already decresed, given the fact that going into the offseason he no longer has that “extra” year of control for a team. Holding him up to the deadline really backfired. I get why they thought they could drive up value as the deadline approached and less players were available, but pitching injuries are just too common, especially for power arms on slender guys. Very disappointing news. I was already bracing for a slow turnaround, but without more impact prospects being acquired, I think we’re on a path to contention in 2016.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s why I was a big proponent of dealing him in the offseason last year. Bird in the hand, and all that. But I can’t rip the Cubs too hard for holding onto him – if he’d held out just two more weeks, the Cubs probably would have gotten a huge haul for him.

      • Flashfire

        A friend says that Kap reported on CTL tonight that, if Dempster had gone to the Braves, the Cubs had Garza ready to go to Texas for a package better than they traded to Tampa to get him. Just terrible luck. Something we are far too familiar with.

        • J R

          WTF?? I really hope this isn’t true about having a package that good for Garza to the Rangers. If it is and they didn’t pull the trigger, shame on them. I never understood why the Cubs “had to trade Dempster first thing”. If the deal was there for Garza pull the ****Ing trigger. This is irritating as hell to hear.

          • Flashfire

            Presumedly because the Rangers wanted to know for sure the cheaper Dempster really wasn’t an option — and talks of Delgado for Dempster weren’t just the Cubs playing them. But that’s just a guess.

            • J R

              Flashfire, that makes sense. I don’t care what Thed says publically, they have to really dislike Dempster. That guy bent the Cubs..

              • J R

                *publicly

        • Tony S

          If the Kap report is accurate this is exactly why I was so frustrated with Dempstergate. It makes sense that teams would consider the least costly options first so with Dempster still floating around as the best ‘rental’ option, teams wouldnt have been all-in on Garza.
          I think the FO did well given how hamstrung they were with Dempsters indecision.

          • SplitFinger

            Wow! he have to love the DempsterGate thing.

  • http://deleted Goat Vader

    The curse is strong in this one!

    • J R

      Goat Vader, your whole situation made me laugh… Thanks for that!

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Yeah this blows anyway you look at it.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    the jim hendry curse goes on and on and on and on it will never go away.

  • spearman

    Well, at least we didn’t sign an ext. yet. Also, maybe we can get a discount ext. Alittle good news.

  • rudymeolismullet

    I never understood the Matt Garza love. AVERAGE pitcher.

    • Bric

      Agreed. Well, above average but definitely not as good as all the hype. Thanks again, Jimmy, for all of your buying high- selling low years.

      • Drew7

        So Hendry signed him after last season?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Average … if you ignore the statistics.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        … or redefine the word “average.”

  • Mysterious4th

    If he is shut down for the rest of the year maybe that’s leverage the FO for a better shot at an extension which would make me happy. It will be hard to shop him this winter and I would prefer to keep him vs trading him.

  • Rich

    He will pitch this season. Promise. Stress reaction? Ya whatever

  • Pat

    More and more, when I read any initial medical related statements form the Cubs an image of Jon Lovitz, SNL era pops into my head. “Yeah, triceps strain, that’s the ticket”

  • rudymeolismullet

    Ignore he is an under .500 pitcher? Ignore he has won 15 games only once? Career ERA 3.84. Sorry Brett, average. I’ll agree to disagree, but Im not paying this guy the money I am hearing by so many he is worth. 3rd or 4th starter to me.

    • TWC

      Did you just use W/L and ERA as the definitive statistics by which to evaluate a pitcher’s worth? Really?

      • Mysterious4th

        Point to TWC

        I totally agree. W-L and ERA are not useful to judge a pitcher. Who was it in Seattle a few years back that won (or came in 2nd) for the cy young and his W-L & ERA would have painted him as a bottom feeder pitcher.

      • JP cubed

        I think ERA is fairly indicative of how good a pitcher is over the course of a career is but 3.84 is pretty good. W-L record is a ridiculous stat though…

    • Internet Random

      Jay Christ himself couldn’t crack a .500 W:L with the offensive support that Garza’s had.

      • Brandon – AA Correspondent

        Do you mean to tell me that Jay Christ can’t hit a curveball??

        love that movie……

  • JP cubed

    Good to see the cubs face 2 lefties in the 3 game set. That will hopefully be enough to give vitters a boost so he’ll continue to play against righties. Hopefully 3 games from now Vitters will force the issue for scrapping that platoon idea with Nobuena…

  • rudymeolismullet

    TWC, what else you need? 1.3 whip….average 2.5k to bb…average…You wanna give this guy 15 -17 million per? Please tell me why he is not average.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Garza’s xFIP is (or was) in the top 30 in MLB. That meant that, on average, each team had one guy pitching as well as or better than Garza when it came down to raw pitching outcomes (FB, K & BB).

      Median would (sort of) be 75, as there are supposed to be 5 starters for 30 teams. However, the 75th best xFIP would be well above average simply because there are so many 4th and 5th guys dragging the overall average way down.

    • Drew7

      Doc hammer, you nail.

  • Fastball

    This will all work out. He will heal up and we will have a really good starting pitcher next year for the balance of the season. No need to bring him back to pitch a few games at the end of this season. Put him on the shelf and let it heal up. He will be fine. I’m not worried about it at all. I don’t see any reason to panic. If it was going to happen now is the best time for it too happen. I don’t see any reason to overreact. He probably should have just been put on the DL right away and laid off for a 3 to 4 week period. The Cubs aren’t winning anything this year so it’s not a great loss at this time.

  • Dave

    Another Cubbie Occurance.

  • Ced landrum

    I seem to remember him having this last year too

  • Kevin

    No leverage for him in arbritation either.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s correct, but that’ll save the Cubs maybe a million bucks or so. Not much when compared to the prospects they could be losing.

  • cubsin

    Brett, assuming we don’t sign Garza to a team-friendly extension this winter, are we going to have another Blogathon at the end of Spring Training next year? I can’t imagine the Cubs not trading him before the 2013 season starts if he isn’t signed long-term.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The problem is that, if he doesn’t pitch the rest of this year, can the Cubs really trade him? Sure, they CAN, but will they get decent value? I doubt it. I know what you mean, though – if they don’t trade him before the season starts, his value drops even further thanks to the change in the compensation pick rules.

      I think it all depends on these next two months.

  • CarneHarris

    I’m hoping for a couple of solid starts before the trade deadline and a good haul this offseason. It’s gonna be fine, guys. Ignore the blood trickling down my chin where I’ve bitten through my lower lip and just listen to the words. It’s gonna be fine.

  • daveyrosello

    Cubs are stuck with Garza now it would appear. Since he’ll be in arbitration again, I think it’s best for Jedstein to just negotiate a 1-year deal and then hope he shows enough to be tradeable next July. But I sure don’t want to see the Cubs sign Garza to an extension this winter, no way.

    Yeah, this means the Cubs lose out on likely two nice prospects, now they’ll maybe get one next July. Oh well, water under the bridge. Feel the Cubbery!

    • DCF

      Yeah, the Cubs seem to be stuck with him. if he manages to put together some decent starts, his worth will be a far cry from what it was before.
      But I’m not sure an extension would be a bad idea per se.
      If the Cubs feel like Garza’s gonna be fine while other teams remain skeptical it might be cool to give him a reasonable, injury-discounted contract and sell high when he’s back to being good again after a year or so.
      That’s probably mainly wishful thinking, but whatever.

  • Doctor_Blair

    Okay this could all work out right…

    Hey he could come back and need some time. Garza’s a good kid, and I think he’ll be good till he’s done with baseball. This could tank his value, and the Cubs could sign him to a long contract for a song. That would be sweet, right? I mean, I am dreaming here, but that would be nice.

  • Eric

    I’m depressed. If Demp just went to Atlanta we’d have a super exciting young pitching staff next year. Delgado from Braves and likely Perez from Rangers and probably a couple more prospects in their top 10-15ish. Now the best we will do if we are lucky, is to trade Garza away next deadline for a 22ish year old who is in some teams top 5 who has a ceiling of Garza or slightly better. Why trade Garza? I just don’t trust him to be anything better than what he is now, and I’d rather have his 22 year old equivelent (via trade). I’m certain they will still trade him, but now it will be next year, for much much less.

    • CubFan Paul

      “and likely Perez from Rangers and probably a couple more prospects in their top 10-15ish..”

      What the heck trade are referring to?

      • Eric

        Well on CTL recently Kap said if Demp went to Atlanta the Cubs had a trade with the Rangers for Garza ready that was better than the package the Cubs gave up to get Garza. My GUESS is that they would target Rangers #2 prospect, pitcher Perez as the #1 peice.

        http://www.csnchicago.com/cubsvideo#
        (Matt Garza injury talk)

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        If Cubs had been able to trade a healthy Garza at the deadline.

    • Jack Weiland

      I wouldn’t assume they’ll end up dealing him for much less. If he comes back and has a few healthy starts, or a team is convinced he’s good to go, he still has a lot of value.

  • Eric

    I really doubt they are going to trade him this offseason. I’m just saying I’m depressed imagining what we could have had. I mean these were REAL trades on the table and ready to go. But Dempster thinking LA actually wanted him, and Garza’s injury. Jesus I am so depressed. But who knows, this front office has really surprised me before. Maybe they can work some magic this offseason, you think so? Come on bring me away from the ledge here.

  • MightyBear

    Archer and Lee are top 50 right now as well. Hindsight is 20/20 but how come every time we look back, the Cubs f’ed up.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      I doubt that HJLee will remain Top 50 for much longer. Despite a recent hot streak, he’s not exactly overwhelmed in his year plus in AA, with a 0.254/0.326/0.358 line. He is “only” 21: but real stars to be usually do not stumble this much going in to AA.

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