Being a Cubs fan is never easy, and the pain has begun already: starting pitcher Matt Garza has been shut down, and will likely miss the entire month of April.
On Thursday, the news broke that Garza might start the year on the DL while battling a strained lat. Now, the news has grown even worse with Garza being shut down and missing more than just a start or two to kick the year off. Thankfully for the Cubs, Garza's elbow is fine. He missed the final two and a half months of 2012 after feeling pain in his triceps just before the trade deadline in July.
Where does this leave the Cubs now? Well, Jeff Samardzija was named the Opening Day starter by manager Dale Sveum after a breakout 2012 that saw Samarzija post a 3.81 ERA and strike out 180 hitters in 174 2/3 innings after struggling with his command in the bullpen during the entirety of his Cubs career. Also, with Garza and Scott Baker both starting the year on the DL, rotation spots are now essentially guaranteed for Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva after both were initially on the bubble of joining Samardzija and free agent signees Edwin Jackson and Scott Feldman in Chicago's rotation.
The Cubs really aren't in bad shape, considering that they weren't really expected to contend in 2013, but more injury issues from Garza is just going to detract from his possible trade value as he heads into free agency following 2013. The more time he misses, the less the Cubs will be able to get in return for him in July. At the same time, all of these injury problems over the last eight months will likely lower Garza's price on the open market, potentially allowing him to return to the Cubs at a lower salary than they expected to pay an offseason ago.