Matt Garza's future includes 10.25 million deal with Cubs

Matt Garza's future includes 10.25 million deal with Cubs
January 18, 2013, 4:17 am
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Matt Garza will make 10.25 million in his walk year before potentially cashing in as a free agent.

The Cubs reached an agreement on Thursday with perhaps their most marketable trade chip, leaving right-hander Jeff Samardzija and reliever James Russell as their two remaining arbitration cases. A team source confirmed the deal, which was first announced on Twitter by Garzas agency, CAA Sports.

Garza made 9.5 million last year, going 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 18 starts, but he didnt throw a pitch after July 21 because of a stress reaction in his right elbow. That killed his trade value, which wont be restored until he proves hes healthy again.

Garza has resumed a throwing program and sounded upbeat on his personal Twitter account. General manager Jed Hoyer has said that Garza should have no restrictions in spring training, while team president Theo Epstein expects the 29-year-old pitcher to be ready by Opening Day.

The Cubs arent going to move Garza as soon as hes made a few Cactus League starts. It sounds like the probable scenario is that he and his teammates will get a chance to jell in Arizona, a runway for a few months during the regular season, to show where theyre at before the front office would decide to become sellers.

On Wednesday, Epstein was asked a question about Garza and his standing in the organization once pitchers and catchers report to Mesa next month.

We teach our hitters to take like a yes, yes, yes, no approach, Epstein said, to be aggressive, as if every pitch is going to be a pitch they can drive until its not, and then they take it. Thats the same thing you do for a season. Once you get to spring training, youre there to win until youre not.

Now you never forget about the future. Youre always keeping one eye on the present, one eye on the future. And if theres ever a chance to add to the future without taking away from the current team, thats always something that you look to do. But, yeah, were competitive people and once you get to spring training youre trying to win.

Throughout the winter, there have been signals that Samardzija is not inclined to sign an extension right now. But Samardzija and Garza could make an interesting one-two punch at the top of the Cubs rotation.