Originally written on World Series Dreaming  |  Last updated 3/3/13
Oh, Matt Garza…why can’t you stay healthy? First it was the elbow issue, and now it’s a lat problem.  Let’s read the steady string of tweets before we begin… Jeff Samardzija named @cubs’ #OpeningDay starter; Matt Garza will likely miss 1st month of season, reports @carriemuskat. — MLB (@MLB) March 3, 2013 Well that’s fun, at least. Jeff Samardzija is a pretty cool guy and had a wonderful 2012 season (relative to what he’s done in the past, but still) and deserves it. Too bad it had to be a “by default” kind of situation, but I’m sure he’ll do fine. Garza felt a twinge again in his left Lat when he threw on Saturday. No time table now for return to mound . — Bruce Levine (@ESPNBruceLevine) March 3, 2013 This, boys and girls, is why stretching and proper conditioning is key. But you never know when your muscles are just going to crap out, so you can’t really blame Matt for this. Just being cautious. Sveum says Garza did not have setback, just needs more time. #Cubs — Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 3, 2013 Garza (lat) shut down for another week. It’s possible he won’t join rotation until May. Samardzija named #Cubs Opening Day starter. — Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) March 3, 2013 It’s nice that it’s not a setback. It’s good that they’re taking precautions. It’s bad that because both Garza and Scott Baker are not available for most of April, now we have… With Garza and Baker injured, Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva now in #Cubs rotation — Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) March 3, 2013 Cue the obscenities! Now, I want folks to know that I am in favor of ensuring that Matt Garza is 100% healthy before they rush him back.  The Cubs are not projected to have a contending record and there’s no reason to rush and risk hurting one of their few assets to squeeze out an extra win here and there.  That said, what will this say about Matt’s future? Well, we’ve sort of talked about it before and I’m too lazy to dig up the blog, but there are a few options. They can still try to trade him at the July 31st non-waiver deadline and hope for best return possible.  That return is probably going to suck now that he’s had several setbacks with injuries in his “walk” season.  Recall that Matt Garza is a free agent after 2012 season. They can give him the qualifying offer at the end of the season, after the World Series ends, and hope that some other team signs him and the Cubs can pocket a draft pick.  But that worked out for Kyle Lohse so far, didn’t it? The Cubs can now look to lowball Garza on an extension.  A healthy Garza is still a solid, middle-of-the-rotation pitcher, and with his recent injury streak, this may have suppressed his free agent value a bit and the Cubs can make him a decent, fair offer that will set him up for life, while saving money because of the fortuitous (for lack of a better word) injury. If I were the Cubs, I’d hope that he comes back in May completely rehabbed, then see how he pitches and evaluate the options again.  My guess is that they watch a couple starts, see that he’s “normal” Garza and then make an offer sometime in June to get him locked up before the July trade deadline.  Somewhere along the lines of what they paid for Edwin Jackson seems fair to me, but at some point I’m sure someone smarter than me will run the projections and get a better number.  It sucks that Matt Garza had to get injured again (I like Matt, he’s a cool dude) but in a business, if you have a chance to save some dough, might as well take advantage of it.
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