By Matt Snyder
As new Cubs leaders Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer went all Norman Dale on the roster this offseason -- certainly more in the "break 'em down" portion than "build them back up" part -- starting pitcher Matt Garza was involved in myriad trade rumors. The right-hander was connected with the Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, Blue Jays and a few other teams in trade rumors, but so far nothing has come to fruition.
Now, with spring training opening and Garza still on the Cubs' roster, multiple Chicago outlets are reporting the Cubs instead intend to build with Garza as one of the foundations of the club, meaning the talk is of a contract extension, not a trade.
|Cubs offseason moves|
After all the moves the Cubs made this offseason, it appeared for a bit they were embarking on a long-term, slow rebuild. If the Cubs do lock up the 28-year-old Garza long-term, though, it would be a clear sign they are looking to win within the next three to four years, instead of a more distant approach.
‘‘I think patience is important, but urgency is important, as well,’’ Epstein said (Chicago Sun-Times). ‘‘The goal of the 2012 Cubs is to win the World Series. And our goal as an organization is to build an organization that competes on an annual basis in the postseason and gives ourselves a chance to win the World Series ... There aren’t going to be any shortcuts. We’re looking at the big picture, and we’re building this thing the right way. But urgency, of course. And the goal is clear.’’
Garza was 10-10 in his first season with the Cubs, but suffered from bad luck in terms of defense, run support and batting average on balls in play. He had a 3.32 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 197 strikeouts in 198 innings. If the Cubs do hold onto Garza -- CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports some still believe the Cubs will shop Garza during spring training -- the odds of him being the opening-day starter are pretty good, with Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Paul Maholm and either Travis Wood or Chris Volstad joining him in the rotation.
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