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Thursday, February 2, 2012
Source: Cubs, Matt Garza arbitration set

By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com

Pitcher Matt Garza will have an arbitration hearing on Friday in Florida to determine whether he will earn $12.5 million or the $7.95 million that the Chicago Cubs offered, according to a major league source.

The two sides have not been able to come to an agreement on something in the middle.

Garza was the Cubs' top pitcher last season, going 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA. The right-hander was seventh in the National League with 8.96 strikeouts per nine innings. He left seven games with the lead only to end up with a no-decision.

Garza, 28, has been the subject of multiple trade rumors since December. He made $5.9 million in 2011.

President of baseball operations Theo Epstein has admitted that the Cubs have spoken to numerous teams about Garza and his availability. He also stated that signing the pitcher to a long-term deal is something the club would consider.

Garza is arbitration-eligible again in 2013 before possible free agent status in 2014.

The Cubs last went to arbitration with Ryan Theriot before the 2010 and won that case ($2.6 million instead of $3 million). Prior to that the Cubs hadn't gone to arbitration since 1993 when Mark Grace lost his case and got a $4 million deal.

Bruce Levine covers MLB for ESPNChicago.com.