Cubs and Matt Garza avoid arbitration with one-year, $9.5 million deal

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The Cubs and Matt Garza have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $9.5 million contract. Garza’s agency, CAA Baseball, broke the news via Twitter and added that the deal includes some performance-based incentives. The two sides were able to work out a deal prior to an arbitration hearing scheduled for today.

Garza requested $12.5 million and was offered $7.95 million from the Cubs when arbitration figures were exchanged earlier this month, so they settled for a little under the midpoint of $10.225 million. Presumably the incentives give him an opportunity to make up the difference.

Garza, who remains under team control through 2013, posted a 3.32 ERA and 197/63 K/BB ratio over 198 innings with Chicago last season. It looks like the rebuilding Cubs will hang on to the 28-year-old right-hander for now, but he figures to be a prominent name on the block as the trade deadline approaches in July.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.