Trade rumors continued to swirl around Matt Garza despite the Cubs right-hander leaving his July 21 start with a triceps injury, but now he can be crossed off the list of pitchers potentially on the move before July 31.
Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago reports that an MRI exam showed fluid in Garza’s triceps, which means he’ll be shut down until after Tuesday’s deadline has passed.
Garza technically could still be traded even while hurting, but obviously it would be tough for the Cubs to get anything close to full value for a pitcher with a big health question mark. And because they have him under team control for 2013 via arbitration they could start shopping him again this offseason.
Another possibility is dealing Garza during August, but because numerous contenders would surely place waiver claims on him the Cubs would be limited to negotiating with whichever team put in a claim with the highest priority. That would kill their leverage then, just as the triceps injury has killed their leverage now.
Several reports have suggested that the Dodgers preferred Garza to rotation-mate Ryan Dempster, so while the injury is bad news for the Cubs it could actually make it easier to get a strong return for Dempster.
After 16 years in the majors, longtime Tigers DH Victor Martinez capped his career with one final start at Comerica Park. Although there are seven games remaining in the club’s regular season schedule, Martinez said he felt he owed it to the fans to record his final at-bat at home. He’ll still cheer the rest of the team on from the dugout when they hit the road for their last six-game stretch on Monday, though he’s not expected to slot into the lineup at any point during their back-to-back away series against the Twins and Brewers.
In order to commemorate the occasion, the Tigers arranged a pregame ceremony to celebrate the veteran infielder’s seven years with the team, during which they presented him with Topps baseball cards, a recliner, a pair of boots, and a saddle, among other honors. Martinez also put in a special request to play first base, a position he hadn’t manned in over two years.
The 39-year-old didn’t waste a single minute of his final start in the majors. He deftly handled an inning-ending out in the top of the first, then laced a rare infield single to short in his first and final at-bat of the afternoon, beating the throw to first and advancing Nicholas Castellanos to second base in order to set up the Tigers’ first run: a two-out RBI single from Niko Goodrum that brought Castellanos home to score.
“I think that at-bat was the perfect at-bat to describe my career,” Martinez told reporters after the Tigers wrapped a 5-4 win over the Royals. “I had to sweat it out. I had to sweat it out the whole way. I had to grind it. That was my whole career.”
Following the hit — and the standing ovation that greeted it — the switch-hitter was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Ronny Rodriguez, who subbed in at second base in the top of the second while Goodrum shifted from second to first base. Taking Saturday’s performance into account, Martinez polished off his big league career with a lifetime .295/.360/.455 batting line, 423 doubles, 246 home runs, 1,178 RBI, and 28.4 fWAR across 1,973 games and three separate stints for the Indians, Red Sox, and Tigers. His accomplishments at the plate have been decorated with five All-Star nominations, two Silver Slugger Awards, and the designated hitter-exclusive Edgar Martinez Award following a career-best campaign in 2014.