Matt Garza’s Future and Other Cubs News and Notes

Ken Rosenthal reported on Monday that Matt Garza is making progress in his rehab from a strained left lat, and Garza is on target to return sometime in May. Once Garza is healthy enough to pitch, the Cubs will have to make a decision … trade him prior to the deadline for the right package or offer him a qualifying offer in the off-season that would net the team a high draft pick if Garza rejects the qualifying offer and signs with another team.

When Garza returns and if he can stay healthy then he could be a hot commodity on the free agent market next winter. Garza has not pitched a full season since the Cubs acquired him in January of 2011. Rosenthal reported that “the qualifying offer next off-season figures to be between $13 million and $14 million.” Garza avoided arbitration and signed a one-year deal for this season in January worth $10.25 million.

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Garza is already on a few teams’ wish lists once he proves he is healthy, and figures to receive a lot of interest from contending teams leading up to the deadline.

Cubs Baseball Operations

During Tom Ricketts’ press conference on Monday, Bruce Levine asked how soon the Wrigley Field deal will benefit the baseball side and allow Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to spend freely like other big market teams.

Tom Ricketts said “the extra dollars would be generated for the baseball department but did not clarify when.”

Ricketts denied a report from the Sun-Times last week that there is a disconnect between the baseball side and the business department.

Levine reported that the restoration to Wrigley will cost $300 million and the $200 million for the hotel will be paid with separate funds by a Ricketts LLC, the same LLC that purchased the McDonald’s property. The Cubs will receive a boost in revenue from a new TV deal as well as the advertising on the jumbotron.

Levine also reported that the Cubs “must pay $40 million a year over 15 years in debt service for their purchase of the Cubs in 2009.”

David Kaplan reported last week that Theo Epstein is confident he has the Cubs on the right path.

News Bits

Darwin Barney finished his rehab stint with the Iowa Cubs on Monday. Barney went 4-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Barney was 5-for-10 with a double, three walks, three strikeouts and a stolen base in his three games with the I-Cubs.

Ian Stewart has played two games with Iowa, both at third base. Stewart is 0-for-7 with a walk, a RBI and four strikeouts.

Comcast SportsNet reported that the proposed 6,000 square foot jumbotron would be the sixth largest in baseball behind Safeco Field (Mariners), Kauffman Stadium (Royals), Citizens Bank Park (Phillies), Minute Maid Park (Astros) and Comerica Park (Tigers) … and the Cubs proposed addition to Wrigley would be almost half the size of the one in Seattle (11,425 square feet).

The Marlins signed Jay Jackson to a minor league contract. The Cubs released Jackson on April 4.

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Quote of the Day

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  • Tom U

    Daytona’s Ryan Searle has been named Florida State League Pitcher of the Week

    • SuzyS

      While Searle is not an ace in the making…I still don’t understand him being placed at Daytona instead of Tennessee. He had a good winter in the Australian League…(but was blown out once in the playoffs)…If we’re going to have a joke of a staff…at least let’s start doing it with our own youngsters and not injured retreads.

      • paulcatanese

        Very true Suzy. I agree 100%.

  • Neil

    Ian Stewart announced on his Twitter account over night that he will be back within the week or 10 days

    • Steven Petty

      And we are to be excited about this. Stewart is struggling in AAA! So, if Stewart comes back, who is let go? Lillibridge?

      • Neil

        I still think they will keep Lillibridge over Gonzalez due to Lillibridge being able to play the outfield

        • redlarczykg

          Lillibridge can play 5 different postions, but the problem is he can’t field very well and he can’t hit.

  • Todd

    Good to see Ian Stewart is in mid season form.

  • GaryLeeT

    Matt who?

    • Raymond Robert Koenig

      Have to believe Garza will be injured for a different team next season.

    • bluekoolaidaholic

      Hope to believe Stewart will be injured for a different team next year.

  • Ray Ray

    With Adam Wainwright being extended….if Garza has a good year he could be a rich man if the Cubs let him get to free agency. I used to think trading Garza would be the way to go but I have changed my thinking. They traded Cashner and didn’t get back another starting pitcher. They traded Dempster without getting back another starter, Maholm was traded for a guy who maybe is not durable enough to start and might be more suited for a back end closer, Marshall was traded for a #4 or #5 on a good team. I like Wood but lets be realistic to what he is on a “good team”. Edwin Jackson is no more than a #4 or #5. I think the Cubs try to extend Garza and build around he and Shark. Who do they have in the minors ready to take a starting spot next year in the rotation? Who do they have in the minors who can be anything more than a #5 who will be ready in the next 2 years? McNutt is now a closer. Whitenack is no longer with the team. Rusin is a #5. Raley is a #5. Loux is a back end guy. The free agent market for starting pitchers next year is weak. Lock up Garza. Last offseason was a disaster for the Cubs. Feldman has no value at the trade deadline. Baker has no value. Fujikawa has no value. Navarro has no value. Schierholtz could be moved but you will not get back a near ready starting pitching prospect for him. Imagine if the Cubs held onto Maholm this year? He is 3-0 in 3 starts. 20 plus innings pitched and hasn’t given up a run. He would have brought back a lot more at the deadline this year than last.

    • John_CC

      I don’t know man. I do not feel strongly one or the other on Garza yet. I certainly am not going to call for an extension before he’s thrown a pitch this year.

      Let’s stick to the scenario we all hope happens: Garza comes back, he’s strong and pitches well and has no lingering effect of the shoulder issue. Then the decision to be made is: a) trade him for a package of young talent or b) work on extension. (Option C is to go into the offseason and make him a one year offer, see if he accepts and start the whole thing over again or get a draft pick compensation is he turns down the offer. Option C is least desirable because it means that he isn’t good enough this year to garner the trade package the Cubs desire, which in turn would signal that the Cubs do not want to extend him for 3 years.)

      So back to options a) and b). Personally, I would rather see a trade for solid prospects including at least one MLB ready pitcher. I am just way to leery of extending 30 year old pitcher more than 3 years, and even then, with Garza’s history I think 3 years is way too long. It is bound to end badly.

      • Ray Ray

        The question is….how many solid prospects will you get for a pitcher that will walk in 6 months? I bet he will pitch well….given his track record. Many are saying how he is injury prone. This guy has never been hurt until the end of last year and because of the layoff…pulled his lat. If they wait till free agency, some team will offer him a lot of money and the Cubs will be left with only a draft pick. My best case scenario would be to extend him after he proves to be healthy and does well after a couple of starts before the trade deadline.

        • John_CC

          To make his trade value better or to keep him?

          It’s a tricky situation.

          How many years would you say is too many?

          • Ray Ray

            All pitchers are a risk. Would he accept 3 years? I doubt it. Would I extend him 5 more years? I don’t think I would. Hopefully they can do no more than a 4 year extension and meet in the middle.

          • willie smith

            it’s why the cubs should of been in on Darvish; Theo knew there would be a high bid; he signed Dice-K, but the Ricketts poor financing would not allow. same reason they should of been in on Ryu of the Dodgers; easy players to sign; nothing more than blind bidding.
            and look at Maholm, he is 3-0 with a Zero ERA. Vizcaino is still on extended ST and may not even end up being a starter.(which trading a starter for a reliever is a huge mistake).
            Not bad rotation………too bad we are losing on purpose instead.

          • Ray Ray

            Ryu would have been nice. Hopefully another international starting pitcher comes available within the next couple of years who could be more than a back end guy.

          • John_CC

            I really wish everyone would get over Maholm’s 3-0 start. For crying out loud, he is 3 AND 0 on April 16!!

            When he’s 16-4 with a 2.40 ERA in August, then we can bemoan the trade.

          • Theboardrider

            There is no reason to assume Vizcaino can’t start. Guys come back from TJ surgery all the time and start. It’s not the huge deal it was 10 years ago.

            On a side note…how many Vicaino’s are in baseball? I’ve never met one anywhere but they seem to be all over the place in baseball.

            Could one of our stat guru’s find out most common baseball last names? I wonder where Vizcaino is?

          • Ray Ray

            Many MLB scouts are the people questioning whether or not he will ever be durable enough to start.

          • cc002600

            Cubs need a closer.

            Vizcaino has never come close to 200 innings in his career (Yes I know he is young, but still)

            I say make him the closer.

            Not that it really matters b/c they are going nowhere either way, but if cubs had good closer they might be over .500 right now.

          • Theboardrider

            True but it’s not about what helps us now. There are no decisions being made with an eye on this year. If we lose less than 100 games that will be considered a victory. The question is where will Vizcaino be in 2015? All management decisons are being made with an eye on 2015 and beyond.

          • John_CC

            We are on the same page on this one Ray. Except I would not go past 3 years. Maybe some kind of option for the 4th, but not guaranteed.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I don’t know what pitcher would take a 3 year extension, especially one at his age who could cash in with a 5-7 year deal in free agency.

          • John_CC

            Right. Which is why I have a problem with extending him. 7 years is nuts! I think 5 is too long, I understand it is the way it works, but I don’t have to like it.

      • cc002600

        I think option C is the best.

        I think you are way over shooting what the cubs would get for him in a trade. Unless he comes back in May and pitches really well for 2 months, which is highly unlikely, you are not going to get that much for a guy who is now injury prone heading into free agency. I think you might a get one decent prospect, but that’s about it.

        • John_CC

          Maybe you’re right but for the record I did say going with the best case scenario (Garza strong and productive), not most realistic scenario.

          I still think a trade for prospects is better than a single compensatory draft pick.

          • Theboardrider

            I like a trade for prospects or sign him long term. If he comes back and pitches well no reason we can’t get a good package for him. And I don’t think there is any reason to expect him to not pitch well…

  • paulcatanese

    All of the problems the Cubs are having are the result of bringing in players coming off injuries or a down year(but having previous good ones), doing it this way means that it all a shot in the dark as to who will succeed and who will not.
    True, it stockpiles dollars to be used when the time comes.
    But who is to say when it’s the right time?
    How many pitchers have been 100% healthy when brought into the Cub franchise?
    Position players are another concern, being brought in with a injury history or down years hoping to recapture something from before.
    All of the number 1 prospects are just that, prospects. That is a mixed bag as well.
    As a fan, this is not the way for one to be supportive of the many decisions that are being made in such a manner.
    This is total confusion, players coming and going, every day a new player brought in (pitching mostly) that have little or no value, given age, injury or whatever.
    And on top of that the rooftop owners and their demands, this tells me that someone is in over their head.
    I have yet to see a solid concrete move by the Cubs with the exception of people in the front office buying homes when the market was down.
    The rebuilding process that was to be 2-3 years is now stretched to 5-6 years, an no one knows then.
    All the first round drafts and good free agent signings still do not mean success, once in place, they all must jell at the same time, I wish them luck, because that’s what it’s going to take, and a lot of it.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Isn’t Edwin Jackson a solid concrete move? They signed him as one of the most reliable pitchers available. An anchor for a weak staff.

      What about the Ricketts doing all they can to renovate Wrigley with their own money despite tons of opposition from the city? That sounds like a concrete move to their fans that they care about the ballpark everyone loves.

  • Brp921

    We need to wait and see how Garza pitches when he comes back. If he pitches well and appears to be healthy again then a decision can be made. If he’s a class A free agent and won’t sign a reasonable contract and no one is willing to give up what we want in a trade, I don’t see a first round draft pick as a terrible option with the rebuild. Personally I don’t see Garza trying to break the bank unless he comes back and is super successful.

    • Raymond Robert Koenig

      Free agents aren’t ranked any longer. A team either makes them the qualifying offer or not.

      • Brp921

        I just can’t keep up with the rule changes I guess.What happens if they make him a qualifying offer and he turns it down, and how is the qualifying amount determined? If he leaves is there any compensation?

  • Willie smith

    Kevin Gregg is back!!!!!!
    Yippee….. This losing on purpose is fun.

  • Ray Ray

    Cody Ransom? And many on here were disagreeing with me when I said they should have signed Yuniesky Bettencourt?Wow! This team is turning into a graveyard for mediocre players trying to hang on.

    • DWalker

      Sigh, I wish I had something optomistic here, but I don’t. this years Stewart is looking like last years Stewart, Brett Jackson looked decent in ST but seems to be struggling now, and we are already playing injury roulette. Worst part is, as bad as things look right now, we aren’t even in the hunt for last place. I hope some of these guys like Rizzo and B. Jackson can turn things around.

      • Ray Ray

        Not a lot to be optimistic about.Hey….Castro is amongst the league leaders in hits.

  • Ray Ray

    Hoyer says Cubs have ‘underperformed” Hahaha. How about….. the GM has underperformed!

  • Ray Ray

    It was obvious to everyone who is objective about how poorly the bench was constructed in the offseason. Hoyer is saying they have underperformed but look at the players he gave Sveum to work with, They have no viable right handed 1st baseman to spell Rizzo against a tough lefty. Tonight would have been the perfect time to give Rizzo a day off since he is struggling and he could be put back in the lineup tomorrow and Wednesday against 2 righthanded starters. Takahashi was a reach at his age and wouldn’t bring back any prospects even if he pitched average. With Stewart and Valbuena(both lefthanded) Hoyer should have signed a veteran like Bettencourt who can play 3rd,Short and 2nd and also has some pop instead of Lillibridge. Hoyer should stand up and take responsibility. As I have said……It was a brutal offseason!

    • Ray Ray

      meant Wed and Thursday. It’s been a tough week!

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