Now that the Chicago Cubs have reportedly added two more starters into their staff — Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Jackson (not crazy about the Jackson move) — a question has risen: What to do with Matt Garza? Some want to trade him, others want to lock him down long-term; which side is right? I feel Garza could be a franchise pitcher. He likes being a Cub, he is young and he has a great arm.
Garza is just 29 years old and has been in the majors for seven years. He has a career record of 57-61 with a 3.84 ERA, and every year of his career, he has had a sub-four ERA, excluding his rookie season when he went 3-6 with a 5.76 ERA. This guy has been a solid, front-of-the-rotation guy most of his career and has always been consistent. I just don’t think we should trade him away to fill a hole somewhere else in the field. The Cubs need to lock this guy down long-term.
As for Villanueva, I like this addition to the pitching staff. Villanueva can be a starter or come out of the bullpen, and I think he is going to be a solid arm for the next two seasons, possibly longer. Villanueva, who is also 29, has been in the majors for seven years as well, posting a 33-35 record with a 4.26 ERA. While most of his appearances have come out of the bullpen, Villanueva made 16 starts in 2012 and relieved in 22 games, logging 125.1 innings. Not a bad pick up for two years and $10 million.
Now, for Jackson, I’m torn about this addition because $52 million over four years is a bit much for a guy who has been pretty inconsistent over his major league career. Jackson, who is also 29, will definitely be in the rotation this season for the Cubs, but who else will make the cut? In my mind (take that for what it’s worth), the rotation would be Jeff Samardzija, Garza, Jackson, Scott Baker and Travis Wood. But, then again, Baker and Wood are interchangeable with Villanueva and fellow new-comer Scott Feldman, neither of whom have been consistent starters in their careers, which is why I would start them off in the bullpen and see how they pitch throughout the season.
This is a nice problem to have if you’re a Cubs fan, and certainly not something we had to deal with last year. Too much starting pitching? In my mind, there’s no such thing.