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Wednesday

22

May 2013

46

COMMENTS

Game 44 – Garza Returns!

Written by , Posted in General

Box Score / Highlights

Star of the Game –Travis Snider – .578 (WPA)


The Cubs have waited 10 long months for Matt Garza to return and rejuvenate…the offense?! Garza’s 2-out 2-run double in the 2nd inning was the Cubs’ most effective offensive play of the night. It’s not a great sign when most of your offense comes from the pitcher two games in a row.

On the mound, Garza was spectacular. I can’t imagine a better return for a pitcher coming off such a lengthy absence. Seriously, he deserves a shaving cream pie in the face. While he didn’t have amazing control (to be expected from someone in his situation), his stuff was unhittable. He made more than one opponent look foolish at the plate. The Pirates got their first hit in the 5th inning, and that was a weak blooper by Clint Barmes. Garza was going into the game with a strict pitch count of 85-90, so his elevated pitch counts early in the game forced his exit after 5 innings (if you are going to comment to say that Sveum should have left him in longer, please stop now – you’d be incorrect). Perhaps the biggest story for the Cubs up until the trade deadline is going to be Garza’s future. Get ready to hear A LOT about it over the next several weeks (more on that in a minute).

Unfortunately, the game continued past the 5th inning. The wheels fell of the wagon in the 6th as Hector Rondon entered the game…and left with the bases loaded and one out. Subsequently, James Russell was brought in to try to clean-up the mess. I was actually glad to see Sveum go with Russell in that situation – even though it wasn’t late in the game, it was definitely the highest leverage situation of the contest (I leave it up to you, commenter, to decide what it means to say that James Russell is the team’s best reliever). Russell proceeds to walk the unwalkable Pedro Alvarez (to be fair, it was a questionable check-swing call by the third base umpire), scoring the first Pirates’ run. Enter piñata-of-the-moment Shawn Camp, who allowed a grand slam to pinch hitter Travis Snider.

That brings me to my next thought: I really hope there is a Michael Bowden trade looming. I can’t see any other reason why the FO would DFA Bowden to make room for Garza on the roster rather than kicking Camp to the curb. I’m wary of jumping to conclusions based on small sample size, but it’s obvious that Camp is done. This is going to be a real head-scratcher if some sort of deal involving Bowden doesn’t go down.

Of course, the Cubs provided us with their patented fake rally in the ninth. Darwin Barney capped a 4 for 4 night (I know!) with a triple with one out and subsequently scored on a Starlin Castro single to bring the Cubs to within a run. Anthony Rizzo had a chance to be the hero with runners on first and third and two outs, but he struck out after a long at-bat.

(By the way, Barney needs to start sending me a portion of his game checks. He’s had a huge offensive night 100% of the time when I’ve done the recap. So what if this is only my second one?)

Returning to long-term issues, what will the Cubs do with Garza? Assuming he stays healthy and pitches well (and I realize that’s making significant assumptions at this point), there are two primary options: trade him or attempt to extend his contract. Most writers and commentators seem to think that the Cubs will trade him before the trade deadline and receive a decent prospect or two in the process. However, trading Garza isn’t a total no-brainer. He’s still only 29, and the Cubs might be able to sign him to a reasonable contract that would make him a valuable piece in the rotation for the next 3 or 4 years. So, what would you prefer? I know we’re dealing with abstract “players” here, but would you rather trade Garza for a couple of organizational top-ten-ish prospects who could be ready to contribute in a year or two at the earliest, or would you prefer to sign Garza (knowing the risks) for $13-$15 million a year for three or four years to pair with Samardzija at the top of the rotation? I suppose it depends on when you see the Cubs returning to competitiveness (and on who those prospects would actually be). If the Cubs do extend Garza, it may be a sign that they are going to start to “try” to win as early as next season. Complicating matters, if Garza pitches REALLY well for the rest of the season, the Cubs won’t be able to sign him to an extension, because he’d surely want to test free agency. There are many angles to this issue, and there are significant implications to the Cubs, so we’ll be returning to this topic again and again for the next several weeks. I look forward to some great conversations!

  • LVCubFan

    Why did we not combo Villanueva after Garza last night?? Let him take 2-3 innings since he’s fresh, and has his best success the first time through a lineup. Poor bullpen management by Svuem in my mind.

    • Eddie Von White

      Makes perfect sense – that would have been a great combo and given us a glimpse of what could be.

      • LVCubFan

        Our bullpen has been a dumpster fire, but this many 1 run losses also has to fall on the manager. If we are still seeing writeups like this I’m claiming http://www.FireSvuem.com

      • Eddie Von White

        I’ve never understood the Svuem love.

  • LVCubFan

    Why did we not combo Villanueva after Garza last night?? Let him take 2-3 innings since he’s fresh, and has his best success the first time through a lineup. Poor bullpen management by Svuem in my mind.

    • Eddie Von White

      Makes perfect sense – that would have been a great combo and given us a glimpse of what could be.

      • LVCubFan

        Our bullpen has been a dumpster fire, but this many 1 run losses also has to fall on the manager. If we are still seeing writeups like this I’m claiming http://www.FireSvuem.com

      • Eddie Von White

        I’ve never understood the Svuem love.

  • Now Garza knows what the other starters feel when they pitch well and the bullpen ruins the game for everyone.

    I really, seriously, truly do not like Shawn Camp.

    I know Garza wasn’t going deep into the game, but I was hoping he’d go at least 6; maybe this will motivate him to keep his pitch count low.

    What stinks for me is that Thursday’s game is a 12:35 p.m. and while Mom and I will be leaving for my graduation in VA that day, and may stay in Pittsburgh overnight, I really doubt we’ll be able to catch the game unless there’s a rain delay. And here I was, hoping to hara-I mean, see the Cubs, too.

    • BLPCB

      You won’t be missing anything. And don’t fret about not seeing a Cubs game this year. You’re not alone. I can’t either since I live in Boston

  • Now Garza knows what the other starters feel when they pitch well and the bullpen ruins the game for everyone.

    I really, seriously, truly do not like Shawn Camp.

    I know Garza wasn’t going deep into the game, but I was hoping he’d go at least 6; maybe this will motivate him to keep his pitch count low.

    What stinks for me is that Thursday’s game is a 12:35 p.m. and while Mom and I will be leaving for my graduation in VA that day, and may stay in Pittsburgh overnight, I really doubt we’ll be able to catch the game unless there’s a rain delay. And here I was, hoping to hara-I mean, see the Cubs, too.

    • AC0000000

      You won’t be missing anything. And don’t fret about not seeing a Cubs game this year. You’re not alone. I can’t either since I live in Boston

  • BLPCB

    Why has no one proposed option c for Garza? Let him walk and take the draft picks

    • Jedi

      Because that’s a worse choice than trading him at deadline. If you would take a draft pick for him, you should trade him by July 31. Someone will give you value better than a single pick.

    • Chuck

      Because a draft pick is a lottery ticket.

      • BLPCB

        And a prospect isn’t? I thought u get 2 picks if a type A FA walks.

      • Jedi

        You’re thinking of the old system.

      • BLPCB

        What is the new system? I know that a team that acquires a pending FA mid-season won’t get the picks, but what are the other changes?

      • Jedi
      • Noah_I

        The compensation was drastically simplified and streamlined. Team signing the free agent loses its top pick, unless the top pick is in the first 10 of the draft. Otherwise, they lose their next highest pick. Team losing free agent gets 1 sandwich round pick.

      • Noah_I

        A prospect is less of a lottery ticket than a draft pick. With prospects, your scouts have been able to see how he performs against other professional competition. On top of that, the further up the system a player goes and succeeds, the less of a lottery ticket he becomes and the more predictable his potential outcomes are.

  • AC0000000

    Why has no one proposed option c for Garza? Let him walk and take the draft picks

    • Jedi

      Because that’s a worse choice than trading him at deadline. If you would take a draft pick for him, you should trade him by July 31. Someone will give you value better than a single pick.

    • Chuck

      Because a draft pick is a lottery ticket.

      • AC0000000

        And a prospect isn’t? I thought u get 2 picks if a type A FA walks.

      • Jedi

        You’re thinking of the old system.

      • AC0000000

        What is the new system? I know that a team that acquires a pending FA mid-season won’t get the picks, but what are the other changes?

      • Jedi
      • Noah_I

        The compensation was drastically simplified and streamlined. Team signing the free agent loses its top pick, unless the top pick is in the first 10 of the draft. Otherwise, they lose their next highest pick. Team losing free agent gets 1 sandwich round pick.

      • Noah_I

        A prospect is less of a lottery ticket than a draft pick. With prospects, your scouts have been able to see how he performs against other professional competition. On top of that, the further up the system a player goes and succeeds, the less of a lottery ticket he becomes and the more predictable his potential outcomes are.

  • Eddie Von White

    I’m flummoxed about Garza. Part of me says keep him because we know what we have in him (injuries and all) and the other part of me says get rid of the injured-laden bum. However, I think he’s going to stay healthy so I say keep him and sign him for the 13-15 mil. as you say. Good pitching helps me sleep at night.

    • Noah_I

      That’s the question, though. Would Garza accept $13 million to $15 million? And how long would that contract have to be to get Garza to sign? Anibal Sanchez, who I think is a good comp if Garza stays healthy, took $16 million per year over 5 years to stay with Tigers, and he made it quite clear he preferred to stay with Detroit. My guess is that Garza would not sign an extension for less than 5 years/$75 million at this point. Especially because, if he’s traded, he’ll be disconnected from free agent comp and be more desirable on the market.

      • Great points – I just think it depends on how much Garza’s injury history (he was out an entire 10 months after all) decreases his value on a long-term deal. Is even the entire rest of the season enough time for teams to be confident enough that he will stay healthy to give him a contract that size and length? I wouldn’t want the Cubs to have to commit to him beyond 4 years (3 would be preferable). It will be interesting to see…

      • Eddie Von White

        The signer agrees with you.

        The signee agrees with Noah.

    • Doc Raker

      I am shocked and chagrinned which is the cousin of flummoxed.

      • I am flummoxed by this Smokehouse BBQ foot-long on my desk. Granted I’m more of a Carolina than a Memphis BBQ guy, but this sauce tastes overly sweet for a sweet BBQ. I’m left wanting some heat as well. This sandwich lacks pop (even with jalapenos and wax peppers) so I’ve added Cholula here in the office. I’ve decided to pair it with Cool Ranch Doritos, which are cutting the sweetness a bit. It is tasty, but could be much tastier.
        Rating: 7 out of 12 inches

      • BLPCB

        Stay with the meatball marinara with ranch dressing.

      • Eddie Von White

        Shocked and chagrinned are the first cousins on their mother’s side of befuddled – not to be confused with B-CAPS.

  • Eddie Von White

    I’m flummoxed about Garza. Part of me says keep him because we know what we have in him (injuries and all) and the other part of me says get rid of the injured-laden bum. However, I think he’s going to stay healthy so I say keep him and sign him for the 13-15 mil. as you say. Good pitching helps me sleep at night.

    • Noah_I

      That’s the question, though. Would Garza accept $13 million to $15 million? And how long would that contract have to be to get Garza to sign? Anibal Sanchez, who I think is a good comp if Garza stays healthy, took $16 million per year over 5 years to stay with Tigers, and he made it quite clear he preferred to stay with Detroit. My guess is that Garza would not sign an extension for less than 5 years/$75 million at this point. Especially because, if he’s traded, he’ll be disconnected from free agent comp and be more desirable on the market.

      • Great points – I just think it depends on how much Garza’s injury history (he was out an entire 10 months after all) decreases his value on a long-term deal. Is even the entire rest of the season enough time for teams to be confident enough that he will stay healthy to give him a contract that size and length? I wouldn’t want the Cubs to have to commit to him beyond 4 years (3 would be preferable). It will be interesting to see…

      • Eddie Von White

        The signer agrees with you.

        The signee agrees with Noah.

    • Doc Raker

      I am shocked and chagrinned which is the cousin of flummoxed.

      • I am flummoxed by this Smokehouse BBQ foot-long on my desk. Granted I’m more of a Carolina than a Memphis BBQ guy, but this sauce tastes overly sweet for a sweet BBQ. I’m left wanting some heat as well. This sandwich lacks pop (even with jalapenos and wax peppers) so I’ve added Cholula here in the office. I’ve decided to pair it with Cool Ranch Doritos, which are cutting the sweetness a bit. It is tasty, but could be much tastier.
        Rating: 7 out of 12 inches

      • AC0000000

        Stay with the meatball marinara with ranch dressing.

      • Eddie Von White

        Shocked and chagrinned are the first cousins on their mother’s side of befuddled – not to be confused with B-CAPS.