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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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon