Cubs skipper Dale Sveum told reporters early last week that “it’s going to be tough” for right-hander Matt Garza to return this season from a stress reaction in his pitching elbow. Sveum was right.
Carrie Muskat of MLB.com heard this evening that Garza is officially “done” for the rest of the season.
Not because he had a setback, but because he simply doesn’t have enough time to make a full, normal recovery. And the Cubs don’t want to risk making the elbow injury any worse than it already is.
Garza registered a 3.91 ERA and 1.18 WHIP across 18 starts this season, striking out 96 batters and walking 32 in 103 2/3 innings. The 28-year-old will be salary eligible for arbitration for the final time heading into 2013 and the rebuilding Cubs seem likely to trade him in order to avoid paying what will be a hefty raise.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.