After the Chicago Cubs shut Matt Garza down for the second half of 2012, there was hope that the 29-year old pitcher would be able to pitch well enough to retain some trade value by the time the July trade deadline came around this year. There was even some talk of Garza being traded before the season started depending on how he looked in spring. However, the plan for a trade is falling to pieces as Garza may be on the DL until May.
Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times says the team has said Garza may not be ready to pitch until well into the season. Coming off the DL in May is a possibility, but if that happens it will all but kill Garza's mid-season trade value. With his contract up at the end of this season, this news may be devastating to the rebuilding Cubs.
Garza is a free agent at the end of this season, and even with a likely reduced contract because of his injuries, the righty will surely be out of the Cubs' price range. He may not even be the type of pitcher the Cubs are looking to keep on their roster as he might not fit their new direction. The team is trying to build from within with youth. Eventually they will spend, but Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein are trying to work out the kinks first. Garza could be one of those kinks.
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When he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays, Garza looked ready to breakout. He was a part of a trade with the Minnesota Twins that sent Delmon Young north. As Garza started to get too expensive, the Rays turned him around and shipped him off to the Cubs for slew of young players including Sam Fuld.
Garza has now pitched the last two seasons in Chicago. Combined over those two years, Garza has made 49 starts and posted a 3.52 ERA. He's been solid when healthy, but as he ages and continues to break down, there are clear concerns about Garza's ability to stay on the field consistently.
If he can't pitch until May, there won't be much time for teams to get a look at him and decide whether he is worth trading for by July. This could saddle the Cubs with either a reduced return on any trade they make, or the Cubs may be forced to keep Garza through to free agency.