Garza’s Guarantee … and Other Cubs News, Notes and Rumors

David Kaplan spoke with Matt Garza on Friday and he guaranteed that he would be ready to pitch by Opening Day. Garza recently started his off-season program and told Kaplan that if Spring Training started tomorrow he would be ready to go. Garza clarified his statement and said he’s not ready to pitch six innings right now but he reaffirmed that he will be on the active roster when the Cubs’ season kicks off in Pittsburgh on April 1.

Matt Garza has not had any issues or setbacks to this point and recently discussed his off-season and his desire to stay with the Cubs on MLB Network Radio.

Matt Garza also told Kaplan about conversations he has had with Edwin Jackson about playing at Wrigley Field and handling day baseball. Garza helped lure Jackson to Chicago according to Kaplan’s report on Comcast SportsNet.

Television Broadcasting Rights

The Indians became the latest team to cash in for the rights to broadcast their games. FOX Sports Media Group purchased SportsTime Ohio, the Indians network, and will televise Indians’ games moving forward. Indians games were broadcast on FOX Sports Ohio prior to the 2006 season. The new deal will reportedly increase the Indians broadcast rights from $30 million annually to around $40 million annually.

According to Maury Brown, the massive television deals may be hitting a glass ceiling and Brown told his readers “don’t expect too many more of these massive deals to be reached.” The Indians are just the latest in a line of teams that have received increases in their television deals in recent month.

Brown mentioned on Twitter that the Phillies could be the next team to receive a large television deal in the near future. The Phillies current contract expires in 2015 but the they could get out of the deal before it expires in three seasons.

The Cubs are locked in the current television contracts for at least two more seasons … unless they find a way out of the contracts. The Cubs contract with WGN TV runs through the 2014 season and the deal with Comcast SportsNet expires after the 2019 season. The Cubs currently receive around $500,000 per game for those broadcast on Comcast SportsNet.

Bruce Levine mentioned during Talkin’ Baseball last Saturday that he has heard that the Cubs are investigating ways to get out of their current TV contracts. The Cubs could look into FOX Sports or ROOT Sports to broadcast their games … or start their own network.

Biz of BaseballWhy Massive TV Deals for MLB May Be Hitting the Glass Ceiling

News, Notes and a Rumor

A member of the Cubs family passed away this week. Jimmy Farrell was the umpires’ clubhouse attendant at Wrigley Field from 1982 until 2007. Farrell placed the ball on the mound at Wrigley prior to every game and one time left a rabbit’s foot on the mound for Rick Sutcliffe. Farrell was 91 years young.

Comcast SportsNet released their report of the Cubs’ 12 defining moments in 2012: Trading Carlos Zambrano to Miami; The Rizzo Watch; Kerry Wood Retiring; Alfonso Soriano; Signing Jorge Soler; Matt Garza’s Injury; Dempstergate; Trading Superheroes Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker; Starlin Castro’s Contract Extension; Darwin Barney Winning the Gold Glove; The Signing of Edwin Jackson

And last, but not least … Jim Bowden (MLB Network Radio) repeated on Friday that he keeps hearing rumblings that there is a deal on the table between the Cubs and Phillies for Alfonso Soriano. Bowden did not reveal his source but said he has not heard this from Ruben Amaro Jr. or anyone with the Phillies. From the way Bowden understands it, the Phillies are waiting on Michael Bourn to decide where he is going to sign before pulling the Soriano deal. Soriano would play left field for the Phillies and the return the Cubs would receive depends on how much of Soriano’s contract they would be willing to pay.

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  • J Daniel

    I know most everyone is in a hurry to see Soriano leave but my question is who replaces him. I do agree with Aaron, who has stated several times, Soriano’s numbers are likely to decrease and the injury possibility is like to increase. But if he is not blocking anyone, and you have to pay $26 million for him to leave, why do it?

    • Tony_Hall

      Too get a prospect back (long term asset) for Soriano (short term asset).

      Buy low, sell high.

      Soriano will not have his value get any higher than it is right now. He will have a poor April like he always seems to, and his value will never get back to this level. They bought high on Soriano, at least they can maximize the return if they trade him now.

      • J Daniel

        Agree but depends on the prospect. Brown might be worth a shot but you know how few prospects really work out.

        Also think people put to much stock into draft picks as the baseball draft is so much different than football or basketball. You can find star players in the 37th round and have complete busts in the first and second round.

        For example, if the Cubs signed Bourne they would have to give up their second pick. How many second round picks will end up as good as Bourne and how many won’t even sniff the Show?

        There is no doubt that moving Sori is needed to move things on but there is nobody to replace him unless it is a guy like Brown coming back.

        • Tony_Hall

          I agree on the depending on the prospect back. I’m not sure I am sold on Brown.

          As far as the draft, it is not about any one pick, it is about the volume of picks, especially higher ones.

          Bourne’s biggest asset are his legs and that scares me with someone at his stage of his career. I would rather keep the pick, not pay the money, and keep CF open for BJAX by mid-season.

          • cubs1967

            brown looks like bjax from what he has shown at MLB level so far.

            cubs are gonna be a 90 plus loss team in 2013 and 2104 too as the FA crop is very bad after the ’13 season so it doesn’t really matter about Sori…….except how many years of losing does ownership want players like castro and rizzo and barney go thru…or any bad habits that form as they try too hard(i think this affected Castro in ’12)……it takes a toll not to mention the soon to be 105 yr fan base of NO WS titles.

            bourn makes NO sense unless you want to keep sori and rotate schierholtz in to rest Sori and Dejesus and try to be 1 of 5 teams that make the playoffs; otherwise just move on.

            (the cubs had their chances when theo took over to get players like cespedes or darvish or keep marshall to be competitive; now its really about 2015 and 2016) and hoping theo trades players to get value like rizzo; unlike the marshall, colvin,dempster trades all of which won’t produce any MLB regulars or duplicated positions the cubs already had talent in place).
            (torreyes and villenuva aren’t better than baez or lake or devoss or alcamantra; pitching is what is needed; not anymore hitters-hence garza for olt and whoever would be a disaster).

          • Scott

            Do you really think that keeping a situational lefty (Marshal) would make the Cubs more competitive in 2013 than an everyday centerfielder that plays great defense (Bourne)?

          • RynoTiger

            cubs1967…you didn’t follow my instructions..I said next time you look into your cyrstal ball to see the absolute future of any guys that the Cubs have received in trades, you need to get lottery numbers for the next year. now don’t fail again..unless you’re failing on intention on the big…

    • ADFox979

      Losing Soriano would create a gigantic lack of power for Cubs’ already anemic offense, so they are not going to trade him just to get rid of him. He’s already shown how valuable he is to the Cubs, both on and off the field. However, the Cubs are not going to be a contender this year or most likely next year, and his value will never be higher than it is right now. So if they can attain a valuable prospect or two by trading him, you have to do it, especially if one of those prospects is a pitcher.

      • Rich Hood

        But if we got Dominique Brown in the deal that would at least be a start to answering our outfield needs. We need to get more athletic in the outfield and with out Soriano in our line we need more power. I think that a trade of him will be the beginning of bigger things not the end of the winter spree for the Cubs.

        • J Daniel

          I would think Brown might be worth a shot.

    • Brp921

      Not only will they lose Soriano’s run production but the guys he protects production will probably go down as well, since they won’t see as many pitches to hit. It’s the right time to trade him though, if they can get some near MLB ready pitching. It will allow them to flip a couple of the starters they’ve aquired this off season at the deadline for yet more prospects. It will make for yet another dismall season and I’m tired of losing, but his value will probably never be higher than right now. They could maybe leverage more at the trading deadline if he has another good year, but that’s to big of a risk , in my opinion.

  • Brp921

    The Phillies will have some holes in their starting rotation next year, especially if Halliday is not healthy. I wonder if there could be a blockbuster trade worked out with Garza and Soriano for a package of prospects, or maybe a 3 way trade?

    • Rich Hood

      There has been rumors of them trading Cliff Lee in a 3way deal for Upton. But that was at the winter meetings. I know they do not have the type of minor league depth to do a strait up trade for either Upton or Garza.

  • roseyc

    The bigger picture is not seen here Soriano needs to be gone. You look at this numbers and say he had a good year. But he’s slow starter he only hits when the Cubs were clearly out of it. This is all a process of rebuilding. You don’t rebuilded with old players. Just look at what the Cubs brought up in Sept. or what they didn’t have to bring up. Theo and Hoyer are doing what’s needed to be done years ago but nobody would do it. Everybody is not going to like every trade.Look what the Cards and the Reds have that the Cubs don’t have is depths of pitching.Until we get that that we can’t talk seriously about contending.

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