Dominoes Start to Fall; Brewers Sign Garza to 4 Year Deal
28-year-old right-hander Matt Garza is the first domino to fall after the Tanaka signing. Everyone’s been ready for it to start happening and happening quickly as the free-agent pitchers need homes and all the teams waiting out to see if they would get Tanaka are now scrambling to get their starting rotations in order.
Honestly, the Brewers were a huge surprise in the Garza signing as they were not in the race to sign the Japanese phenom and were until today the only big league club to have yet to sign a free agent. So Garza has agreed now to a four-year, $52-million deal, pending a physical. It is a good fit for them though to bolster their rotation. Garza started 24 games for the Texas Rangers last season and posted a 3.82 ERA.
With those numbers though do come concerns about his health. He’s had trouble the last few seasons battling a rib cage strain in 2013 and elbow issues in 2011-2012. But the physical should answer any questions there. But there are still the questions of his temper and sometimes erratic behavior. A quick and poignant example would be the tirade Garza took to on Twitter after Oakland Athletics’ second baseman Eric Sogard bunted in a run. He openly disrespected and violated the privacy of not only Sogard but of Sogard’s pregnant wife Kaycee making Garza look at best, a bit unstable. But the key factor is that they guy can pitch, period. And that is what the Brewers need.
Garza was in Milwaukee Thursday apparently to take a physical and when the contract is confirmed by the club, he will become only the fourth pitcher in Brewers history signed for at least four years. The others were Jeff Suppan, Yovani Gallardo and Ben Sheets.
Garza will join the Brewers expected starting rotation of Kyle Lohse, Yovani Gallardo, Wily Peralta,Marco Estrada and Tyler Thornburg. Thornburg is likely going to be the depth in the rotation, ending up in a relief role as he is relatively new and unproven. Gallardo is entering the final year of his contract in Milwaukee and with the addition of Garza could be used as trade bait.
Garza started out his career being drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Twins in 2005 and made the big league club by 2006 after the departure of Lohse to the Cincinnati Reds. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2007 where he was highly successful in the tough American League East Division. In 2008 he was named MVP of the American League Championship Series and in 2010 he threw a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers.
Garza is a surprising yet good addition to the Brewers. In his 3 seasons in the National League with the Chicago Cubs he went 21-18 with a 3.45 ERA. Overall in his career which includes last season with the Texas Rangers, Garza, is 67-67 with a 3.84 ERA. Hopefully for the Brewers this surprising turn of events will be beneficial as long as Garza stays healthy and off of Twitter.