matt garza cubsThe Matt Garza trade story simply didn’t have enough intrigue … or obsessive coverage.

According to simultaneous reports from Jon Heyman and Jesse Rogers, the Chicago Cubs and Matt Garza’s marriage may not end this month. Instead, according to the reports, the possibility of an extension for the impending free agent remains a possibility. The reports are relatively thin on details, offering mostly that the Cubs have kinda-sorta-maybe re-approached Garza with extension ideas.

Heyman, you’ll recall, reported two weeks ago that the two sides had ruled out the possibility of an extension, setting the stage for this here Obsessive Watch. Most believed that the Cubs and Garza haven’t seriously entertained the possibility of an extension in a very long time (Heyman says it hasn’t been since Spring Training 2012). Apparently there has been a reversal by the Cubs and/or Garza.

Why, you ask, after months of no extension talks (reportedly and presumably) would the two sides suddenly be discussing an extension? Well, the cynical response is that they aren’t really. The Cubs, you’d say, have just re-engaged Garza so that they can tell other teams, “yeah, we’re talking about an extension … better pony up if you want him!” You’d further point out that the fact that Jon Heyman and Jesse Rogers simultaneously reported these talks “according to a source” sure smells like a controlled leak for leverage.

Then again, you cynical rascal, I could counter that there is a legitimate explanation for renewed extension talks. The Cubs, having shopped Garza for a couple weeks now, have a very good sense of his value to other teams. They could then use that value – perhaps it isn’t as high as they’d like it to be – to tell Garza that, “hey, Matt, you know we love you. But the market out there for you simply isn’t what we hoped it would be. We may not be able to trade you, in which case, we’re going to have to make you a qualifying offer after the season. If you don’t take it, you saw what happened last Winter – your contract will probably be depressed dramatically. Sorry about that. But we’d still love to sign you to a reasonable extension if you’re interested.”

Something like that. The Cubs could also point to the lack of trade interest – again, this is all hypothetical, because I actually expect there’s a ton of trade interest – as a sign that the free agent market for Garza won’t be as robust as he hopes. Maybe he won’t get the huge contract he expects, and maybe he should consider a reasonable three or four-year deal with the Cubs right now.

In the end, do I buy that explanation? Eh. It’s around the same level of plausibility as a mere smokescreen. Keeping Garza on a team-friendly extension has always been the best possible outcome here. He’s 29, effective, and now looks healthy. The Cubs have a lack of upper-level pitching depth, and are going to need a whole lot if they hope to be improved in 2014.

But, for Garza’s part, you can understand why he’d want to test the market. He’s shaping up to be not only the best pitcher on the market, but one of the pre-eminent free agents. He could command huge dollars if he keeps pitching like he has been.

In the end, I suspect that we’ve got a combination of things going on here. The Cubs know they’re probably going to have to trade Garza, but they legitimately wanted to make one last approach on a possible extension. If they can get a deal that makes sense done with Garza, then great, they’ll do it. If not, then this one last approach also helps slightly with their various trade talks.

UPDATE: Adding legitimacy to the extension talks – or to the cynical leverage-building theory, depending on your bent – Ken Rosenthal now also reports that a Cubs source tells him extension talks have occurred. He says it’s due to the Cubs now being more comfortable with Garza’s health. Again, that could just be more leverage-building by the Cubs (“hey, worried teams: we’re so confident in Garza’s health that we want to extend him!”), or it could be a legitimate reason to re-assess.

  • cubzforlife

    Comcast sports has “Garza extension talks underway” on their banner right now.

    • ssckelley

      Are they able to sneak a camera into the room?

    • Assman22

      Garza is asking 4/76 and Cubs were holding at 4/60 but have drawn the line at 4/64 firm…he’ll be dealt…

      • someday…2015?

        Any update on a possible return?

      • MichiganGoat

        That’s been my thought – Garza wants that 70M+ contract Cubs aren’t willing to go that high and Garza wants to take his chances.

        • YourResidentJag

          And then he gets 4 for 64. :)

        • Assman22

          Wants Anibal+ deal and won’t get it…Anibal was overpaid in a weak market by a GM known for doing so…95% sure Garza will be traded…Heyman is a puppet…

          • MichiganGoat

            The Sanchez deal really set the bar in Garza’s mind… It will be interesting where he lands, the best thing he can hope for is to get traded to a playoff team, have a Beckett like run to the WS, and hope a LA team overlays for him. But that’s not happening but he’s still going to try. Best of luck.

            • Jp3

              He’s going to resign for $7.5mill a season for 6 years. It’s true, I read it on the Internet.

              • Jimmy James

                Sweet, I love that place

      • YourResidentJag

        I wish he’d take 4/64 and just stay.

        • N8theGr8

          I’d take it; and just stay almost anywhere, forever, for that price.
          Just sayin’–I got kids to feed.

  • FastBall

    Also, from Garza’s point of view the Cubs looked like dog crap on paper everywhere you looked. That’s changing and he knows it. If we make a couple clever moves we could run at the Wild Card next year. If we had a BP we would be close to .500 with a shitty offense and BP. I think if the Cubs were to trade Castro they could still get a big haul in return. I think that kid has had too many people talking to him and his mind cluttered with way too many thoughts everytime he goes to do anything. I personally think everyone should leave him alone for about 5 days. Don’t play him and don’t talk to him. Hell I would even send him somewhere away from the team for those 5 days just so he can clear his mind. He’s a kid and I can’t imagine all the crap he is trying to process everyday. He is human and you probably can guess how much experience he has dealing with difficult issues. None. A 40 or 50 year old guy probably can’t deal with all he has rattling around in his head right now.

    • ssckelley

      This is great stuff! The way to fix Castro is to give him the silent treatment for 5 days.


    • MoneyBoy

      Fastball, you hit it !!!!

      Thankfully, the ASB is coming; I hope the kid goes wherever his girlfriend and baby are and forgets ALL about baseball for four days.

      Shame about the bullpen; you’re right, the yard sale would continue, but there’s every possibility the team would be at .500!

      A bunch of things have to go right (no Cubbie occurrences) but Wild Card doesn’t sound as far away as it did not that long ago!!

      • Hansman1982

        That long ago…like last week?

  • Big Joe

    Watch. They’ll resign him, and he’ll get hurt…again. He’ll be out the rest of the year, and be expected back “sometime in mid-May, next season”.
    Get what you can for the guy, and move on.
    Didn’t last year teach the FO anything?
    I like Garza. Correction, I like a HEALTHY Garza. Sadly, the two haven’t been spotted together much over the last couple seasons.

  • YourResidentJag

    This from eno sarris of Fangraphs about Shark: Eno Sarris ‏@enosarris 16m
    oh man. been working on this Jeff Samardzija post all day. He says he has multiple split fingers, so I’m trying to find them.

    I’m beginning to wonder if we’re trading away the wrong pitcher.

    • David


      • YourResidentJag

        Apparently he thinks he has multiple split finger fastballs. As Eno feels and I concur, I don’t know how that’s possible. :)

        • Jp3

          Oh!!! I thought you were talking about trading shark. I was having heart palpitations

      • Jp3

        What x2? I don’t get what he is saying about Shark

        • YourResidentJag

          I think he’s saying he confused by what this means. I’m equally confused. Some of the things that come out of Jeff’s mouth are just weird.

          • Scotti

            Not weird at all. There are different ways to throw a split which should invariably result in somewhat different results (earlier/later break, more/less break, slower/faster, etc) depending on what the pitcher’s desired affect is.

            • YourResidentJag

              Isn’t that ways to throw a fastball? A splitter is a category of fastball many to appear on a level plane and then at the last moments break down and out of the strike zone. You’re describing multiple ways to through a fastball, not a splitter. Which is to say, there isn’t multiple split finger pitches, but there are multiple ways to throw a fastball. Still makes the comment odd.

        • Headscratchin

          I read that be be like Louis Tiant claiming he had one hundred and whatever the number was different pitches. He might have had 50 different fastballs, but they were all fastballs when they got to the plate, no matter what gyrations and grips he used before he released it.

          • YourResidentJag

            But you’re talking about a fastball and a category of pitch….not a splitter….a category of fastball.

  • 5412


    In thinking about this there is another possibility. Maybe Garza does want to stay a Cub if he can get a reasonable offer. Up to this point all the deadlines in the discussion were artificial.

    Now there is a real deadline which can push them together if that is what they both want. Garza either signs an extension by a certain date or he is traded to whoever the Cubs want to trade with. They have a real date to either make it or break it….


  • Voice of Reason

    This is nothing more than posturing by the cubs.

    Garza is enjoying his last few days as a cub. Just don’t get hurt!!

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