Matt Garza did in fact return to the mound on Tuesday and actually pitched rather well despite his bullpen failing. Garza was coming back from injury and thus was subject to a pitch count as the Cubs wanted to make sure he was comfortable and could handle the load based on a carefully crafted plan. Safe to say Garza passed his test and he should be given a longer leash next time out.
Danny Knobler suggested that even in one appearance, Matt Garza’s trade stock will skyrocket.
A few minutes after Matt Garza left the mound at the end of his first big-league start in 10 months, [Knobler] got a text from a rival scout who was watching at PNC Park.
“I’d take him NOW,” it said.
With a lack of strong pitching available at the deadline it’s easy to see how valuable Garza can be as a trade piece come July 31. However, I have argued before that it might be worth it to see what it would take to sign Garza long-term and keep him in Cubs pinstripes. At the same time, if he does show he’s healthy and effective, Garza may be worth the qualifying offer which would allow the Cubs to snag a draft pick, especially if you take a look at the other options available; it’s a big pile of “meh” out there.
So again, we have a useful asset in Matt Garza. He can be traded for a good haul of prospects (though the Cubs likely won’t get the same haul they gave up to acquire Garza in the first place). He can bring back a draft pick if he signs elsewhere, though I feel like a prospect package is much more valuable than the sandwich pick. Or, being only 30 next season, he could be signed through the rest of his prime at a relative discount.
As Cubs fans, we should hope that Matt Garza does very well to make this decision extremely difficult for the Cubs, as any outcome can turn out to be a win-win here.