Matt Garza is at an interesting point in his career.
He is set to be a free agent after the 2013 season and is essentially auditioning for teams and a long-term deal with the Cubs. He is a true professional, which we saw this offseason, in how he handles his business.
Neither side has ruled out a long-term extension, which is good, and Garza's agent recently came to Chicago to meet with Cubs president Theo Epstein.
Epstein downplayed Garza's early performance as an indicator of what is to come, but could a hot start reignite the rumors that clouded Wrigley all offseason? From Gordon Wittenmyer and the Chicago Sun-Times:
‘‘Anytime you’re contemplating significant personnel moves, you have to look at the organization as a whole and where you’re going,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘One week’s worth of performance, let alone one season’s worth, doesn’t necessarily impact that significantly.
The Cubs have several good young prospects, but they are mostly offensive pieces in Triple-A Iowa. Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, Josh Vitters and even Welington Castillo are all nearing major-league opportunities.
But there is not much to offer or look forward to on the pitching front. Chicago traded its best pitching prospect in Chris Archer to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal, so unless they're getting something of similar caliber as their 28-year-old righty, it seems in the Cubs' best interest going forward to build the rotation around him.
Imagine the Cubs out of contention in July trading Garza. Not only would that put added pressure on the rotation and the bullpen, but it would force guys from the minors to fill in—which would then be a repeat of 2011.
The Cubs are moving forward from 2011, and the only way to do that is to have an ace to build a rotation around.