Matt Garza and the Cubs on the Same Page Regarding Extension Talks and Other Bullets

matt garza cubsIt is Martin Luther King Day, which means different things to different people. Why not take the opportunity to do something you’ve probably done before, but haven’t done in a long time: read MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream Speech.

  • Both the Cubs and Matt Garza recognize that right now isn’t the time to discuss an extension. After avoiding arbitration late last week on a one-year, $10.25 million deal for 2013, it was only natural that each side would be asked about the possibility of an extension, but each side tells the same story. “Right now I just want to pitch,” Garza told ESPN. “I’m happy that this year is settled. [Long-term discussions are] always open but to even think about that I need to pitch.” And GM Jed Hoyer said something similar: “It’s not the right time right now. He hasn’t pitched since July. Feels great, feels healthy. I don’t think right now is the time to enter those discussions.” Kind of sounds like they’ve had conversations, eh? Clearly, they’re on the same page, and that, alone, suggests that each side really is open to the possibility of a long-term extension once Garza shows he’s healthy. Of course, the Cubs aren’t going to take any option off the table – Garza pitching healthily in the Spring is just as likely to lead to a trade as it is to lead to an extension (or neither).
  • Jon Greenberg dumps a bucket of cold water on any inflated expectations the Convention might have engendered. While I wouldn’t use quite the same stabbing motion, I do think it’s fair to reiterate that the 2013 Cubs team doesn’t look too much better on paper than the iteration that broke camp last year. A lightning in a bottle season is always possible, but the focus remains the long term. (Incidentally, I met Jon this weekend. He is very much in person the guy he is in print, and I liked him. We may not always agree on things, but he’s a sharp dude.)
  • Indeed, as Theo Epstein, himself, said this weekend: “We’re realistic enough to know, on paper, we’re not the favorites to make the playoffs.” The point is not to bum you out or make you unenthused about the 2013 season. The point is to keep expectations in a reasonable range, and to, perhaps, redirect your focus on “progress.”
  • Relatedly, Patrick Mooney takes a high-level view of the “when” question, in terms of the Cubs’ future competitiveness. Ownership and the front office seem very aligned: they aren’t going to put an artificial timetable on it, because there are no shortcuts.
  • Bradley Woodrum writes a fantastic piece on stolen base efficiency in the post-Steroid Era. The short version is that teams should be attempting more steals, but the long version is well worth a read.
  • Ian Stewart, who is, together with Dave Sappelt, the most prolific tweeter on the Cubs, enjoys the back and forth he gets from/with fans on Twitter. Just remember that when you tweet at him, he’s actually a real, live person.
  • I’ll have more Convention items later today, in case you were wondering.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

37 responses to “Matt Garza and the Cubs on the Same Page Regarding Extension Talks and Other Bullets”

  1. Tim

    Oh Manti

  2. AP

    I think it could be mentioned that the team that broke camp in Arizona last year isn’t the team that lost 101 games last year. Granted it was still on track to lose 90, but the product wasn’t as awful before the trade deadline as it was after the deadline and I think the club has traded off most of the pieces it felt like it needed to trade off. They could still move Soriano, DeJesus, and Garza, but I think they’re just as likely to hang on to them for 2014 as they are to get rid of them. They may just decide that Soriano has more value to them as a middle of the order bat while they try to field a decent team than he does anywhere else. DeJesus is on a very team friendly deal and serves as a good example in the clubhouse for the younger guys. Garza is still young enough to be a big piece of the rotation when the Cubs are ready to compete. I get so tired of the media using the “Cubs fans are just crazy people who don’t understand just how bad their team really is” just so they can write a snarky piece. The team isn’t very good, but they won’t break camp as a 101 loss team just like they didn’t break camp as a 101 loss team last year.

  3. Curt

    hey Brett I was wondering during the q&a at the convention did anyone ask questions that put them on the spot bc as I see this team how can we not lose a100 games the hitting is just as bad as last yr , pitching might be some better any thoughts on how we avoid losing s 100 and how do u judge the progress so far.

  4. Hawkeyegrad

    I wonder if there is any sense of urgency created by the expiration of the WGN television contract at the end of 2014? WGN’s TV revenue was down 13% last year and a suspect another 90-100 loss season may drive it down even further.

    I know the front office is all about setting a foundation for sustained success. As part of that, there are two big levers they can pull…1) build up the farm system to have home grown players under team control and currency for trades and 2) grow revenue which includes the removal of restrictions at the park and signing new television contracts.

    On the second point I’m sure it will be helpful to show higher ratings during that 2014 season so the front office can demonstrate to a purchaser of the television rights that the revenue will be there (and grow) as the Cubs become competitive year in and year out. I have a feeling upper management is really focused on 2014.

  5. Roughrider

    I think:
    The starting pitching will be at least as good as it was last year before the sell off.
    The relief pitching will be much better and Marmol will be good from start to finish.
    Castillo is an upgrade fro Soto last year.
    Rizzo will be struggle some but still be a well above average first baseman with and excellant season with the glove.
    Barney will remain an excellent 2nd baseman with the glove and improve slightly with the bat.
    Castro will get better defensively and return to a .300 hitter with a little more pop.
    Ian Stewert will be better with the bat and add a little pop. Either he or Vitters or both will be traded before the season is over.
    Sorriano will regress as a hitter and defensively. He’s on his last legs.
    Dejesus will eventually wind up in right because in June Jackson will be brought up and will be playing center.
    Cubs will end up 10 games under .500.

    1. Cedlandrum

      I’m a big fan of Castillo, but we shouldn’t just assume he will be an upgrade over Soto.

      1. Norm

        I feel pretty confident in assuming Castillo will be better than .199/.285/.347 that Soto put up.
        And better than how Cubs catches did cumulatively in 2012: .212/.284/.332

        1. Seth

          My god that slash line is horrid. I’m assuming the Cub’s were near, if not at, the bottom of catchers in the entire league.

          1. John (the other one)

            The slash line is terrible, however, defense should also be factored in–and Soto is far better than Castillo (so far) defensively.

    2. Pat

      “The starting pitching will be at least as good as it was last year before the sell off.”

      The rest of the items listed are possible, although it is unlikely all of them happen. But it will be awfully hard for the starting pitching to improve a whole lot from where it was last year in the first half. Dempster and Maholm were putting up great numbers before they got traded.

      1. Roughrider

        Agreed Dempster and Maholm were very good, at least as far as ERI. I was considering the staff as a whole 1 – 5.

  6. Marc N.

    Matt Garza owes me prospects dammit. So he’s supposed to cost me five top prospects AND a contract extension? Phooey.

  7. Roughrider

    I think.

    I miss the edit button.

  8. Berselius

    When I was growing up in Virginia, MLK day was Lee-Jackson-King Day. Suffice to say, I’m glad that I no longer live in the state. (Of course, I now live in Texas….)

  9. 2much2say

    Trade Castro for Upton and a Prospect Move Barney to SS and Baez at 2nd
    sign Kelly Johnson and play him at 2nd til Baez is ready
    Bourn Dejesus Soriano Rizzo Johnson Stewart Castillo Barney

  10. 2much2say

    Meant, Dejesus Stewart Soriano Upton Rizzo Johnson Stewart Barney

  11. Marc N.

    Who Is a better bet for a 5 WAR season- Rizzo, Castro, or Samardzija? Can Garza do it again in 2013 or was that a one time thing that Hendry made him use up in a losing season?

  12. Frank

    Last year after the Stewart trade,I predicted the cubs would lose over 100 games. This years team is a little harder to read. I like the pitching depth and defense. I don’t see much,if any improvement on offense. My guess with the current roster 65-70 wins.

  13. Westbound Willie

    I look at corporate financial statements as part of what I do and when I see five year projections that don’t account for an economic or sector slowdown I assume I’m dealing with either idiots or dishonest people. Projecting every potential player from the 25 man roster to improve is either idiotic or being intellectually dishonest. When projecting players one has to assume at least half the players are likely to under achieve.

    In regard to rizzo actually he put up the same stats as lehair did in about the same amount of abs so even if he doubles his production first base is a push.

  14. Kygavin

    Rizzo was better than Lahiar in BA, OBP, SLUG, RBI, had a better BB/K ratio, had a higher oWAR and dWAR and was also 7 years younger

    1. Westbound Willie

      Easy there stat point. They were similar. How’s that?

      1. Kyle

        They were similar in that they were both 1b who played for the Cubs, sure. But otherwise, no.

        Wait, the guy who claims to look at corporate earnings statements for a living thinks that “well, they are about the same” is an adequate analysis and anything more is just a guy being “stat point”? That’s hilarious.

      2. Kygavin

        Similar yes but the age is the big thing. Rizzo SHOULD better his numbers as he gets more familiar with MLB pitching. Will that happen? Who knows but one would hope given his progress so far

  15. mudge

    If we knew how the season would play out, it wouldn’t be worth watching.