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Tuesday, January 10, 2012
GM: Signing not precursor to Garza trade

By Bruce Levine

Matt Garza
Cubs starter Matt Garza is reportedly drawing plenty of trade interest.
Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said the addition of free agent pitcher Paul Maholm does not mean a rumored trade of Matt Garza is coming.

"As a rule of thumb we aren't going to comment on trade discussions," Hoyer said on Tuesday after announcing the signing Maholm. "I would say with this Maholm contract and the fact that we have six starters right now is not a precursor to anything. I'm not going to comment on trade rumors, but it's important to note that [signing Maholm] isn't a precursor deal."

The Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays Yankees and Rangers have all had discussions on acquiring Garza over the last several weeks. Garza has two years of arbitration left before possibly becoming a free agent before the 2013 season.

Garza, 28, made $5.9 million in 2011 and could make $8 million to $9 million this season in arbitration.

Hoyer said the Cubs might not be done adding -- or subtracting -- pitching.

"I think we are very comfortable with the names we have," Hoyer said. "You never know what is going to happen over the course of the winter and what is going to be available to us. But what we said was that a huge priority was building [pitching] depth. We feel like we've really done that. But the minute you feel you have enough pitching, you don't. We are happy with the depth we built up over the winter, but it's a dangerous thing to say you are ever done."

With the addition of Maholm, the Cubs have six pitchers with starting experience for the rotation, including Randy Wells. In addition, Hoyer said Jeff Samardzija will be stretched out as a starting pitcher this spring, but also left it open for Samardzija to return to the bullpen.

"If you prepare as a starter in spring training, it can help you with your command, and it can also help you with your secondary pitches," Hoyer said. "But with this depth that we have, he may be a quality bullpen arm for us."