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Garza’s in; wait is out

Matt Garza by the numbers

Year Team W-L G IP H K BB ERA

2006 Min. 3-6 10 50 62 38 23 5.76

2007 Min. 5-7 16 83 96 67 32 3.69

2008 TB 11-9 30 184.2 170 128 59 3.70

2009 TB 8-12 32 203 177 189 79 3.95

2010 TB 15-10 33 204.2 193 150 63 3.91

Career 42-44 121 725.1 698 572 256 3.97

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



So much for rebuilding and that alleged transition year.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry might have put the Cubs back into the thick of National League Central contention in 2011 with a pending multiplayer trade for Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza that could be finalized in the next day or two.

Sources say the deal, which was first reported close by the Sun-Times early this week, is done, pending physicals.

The Cubs would send top pitching prospect Chris Archer, top infield prospect Hak-Ju Lee, outfielder Brandon Guyer, catcher Robinson Chirinos and outfielder Sam Fuld to the Rays for Garza and minor-league outfielder Fernando Perez.

While the prospect price appears steep, the Cubs were able to swing the deal without including top hitting prospect Brett Jackson or either shortstop Starlin Castro or Andrew Cashner, who is expected to move from the bullpen to the rotation.

Garza, 27, who won 15 games last season, becomes the only pitcher on the Cubs’ staff with a World Series appearance, and he has as many postseason wins (two) as the rest of the staff combined (both the others belong to recently re-acquired Kerry Wood).

Cubs officials won’t comment on the move until it’s official, but the deal likely completes the list of major acquisitions for the Cubs, who sought a first baseman (free agent Carlos Pena), a reliever (free agent Wood) and a starter.

Garza, whose $3.35 million salary in 2010 could nearly double in arbitration this winter, doesn’t fit the space Hendry had left in his payroll budget for 2011, which suggests that ownership consent was necessary and that a trade or two could follow to shed salary.

Pitcher Tom Gorzelanny already has been rumored to be on the block for the last month.

Landing Garza is a significant response to upstart Cincinnati’s pitching-driven division title last season and division-rival Milwaukee’s recent trades for Shaun Marcum and Cy Young winner Zack Greinke.

It gives the Cubs a Ryan Dempster-Garza-Carlos Zambrano top three to their starting rotation and makes the back end look stronger with only two spots open among Cashner, Randy Wells, Carlos Silva, Gorzelanny, Casey Coleman and Jeff Samardzija.

Garza went 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA for the American League East champion Rays in ’10 and could see a significant boost in his numbers with the move out of the powerful AL East and into the National League.

He’s 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA in five postseason starts.

Hendry talked with the Rays about Garza four weeks ago at baseball’s winter meetings, but early indications for landing the arbitration-eligible pitcher didn’t look promising.



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