Matt Garza is back in the National League Central after signing a four-year, $52 million deal with the Milwaukee Brewers in January. That means he’ll get at least a couple cracks at the Chicago Cubs, who were his employer for two and a half seasons before trading him to the Texas Rangers on July 22, 2013.
To say he’s looking forward to those inevitable starts would have to go down as an understatement, because he was quite descriptive about what he'd like to do to the Cubs while meeting the media this week.
“And I wish them the best,” he said. “But I like where I’m at, and I’m going to try to kick their teeth in every time I get a chance.”
That’s an interesting visual. And it might be a vision that's shared by defensive end Julius Peppers, who was released by the Chicago Bears earlier this week and agreed to a three-year deal with the Green Bay Packers on Saturday. Similar road out of Chicago, just a little further drive up north.
But really, Garza wishes the Cubs all the best and has nothing truly bad to say about the organization. He really enjoyed his time there. It's just, if he has way, they’ll be figuratively swallowing their teeth like chiclets.
Pent up frustration, perhaps?
Of course there is. As much as he tried to suppress it and downplay the whole teeth comment, it was evident in some other quotes he offered later in the article.
“I’m just a pawn,” he said. “It’s just playing a chess match. You’ve got your king and your queen you have to protect, and then you put the pawns in. That’s us.”
The king and queen?
“The owners,” he said. “And you move your way down. The president’s like the bishop or the knight. And then the rook.
“But it’s all good. We’re all important pieces.”
Basically, he's like any other veteran player. He wasn't fond of being stuck in a rebuilding situation. He didn't like pitching knowing it was only to raise his trade value. He didn't like hearing his name in rumors. None of those things were said specifically, but you can read between the lines, especially when he mentions the final advice he gave Jeff Samardzija, who finds himself in a similar position entering 2014.
“I told him to prep for it,” Garza said. “I told him if they couldn’t come to [an extension agreement] to prep for it. ...
“He just said, ‘Yeah, I know.’ I said, ‘Well, heads- up, don’t pay attention to it; just let it bother you at home but not at the field.’'
The Brewers should offer Garza a little more security and stability, at least in the early years of his deal. If they're not back in contention by 2016, all bets are off. That's something to worry about later though. All he's worried about now is shining up his cleats and kicking some teeth. He just better be ready to eat those words — and his own teeth — if the Cubs end up doing the kicking.
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