t was reported by most news and internet sources last Thursday that the Brewers and free-agent, RHP Matt Garza had come to terms to a four-year $52 million deal pending a physical. Apparently, the sources used by the media were not as credible as first thought. Later in the day the Brewers posted a statement saying,
Despite media reports, negotiations between the Brewers and Matt Garza are ongoing, but there is no deal yet.
So that made some of us in the media feel a little bit silly about having jumped the gun on this one. Many thought it implied that Garza, having just come off of two injury plagued seasons, had not passed his physical. We had all seen what happened to an all but done-deal between the Baltimore Orioles and All-Star Closer Grant Balfour. After his phyiscal the team decided it wasn’t worth it to remain in talks with Balfour who eventually signed with the Tampa Bay Rays.
It was announced early Sunday morning that a deal had indeed come to fruition between the Brewers and the 30-year old pitcher. The deal is still four-years but only for $50million, while Garza can earn up to $4 million more in incentives and has a vesting option for 5th year at $13 million.
The Brewers are hoping Garza can bolster their rotation that already contains pitchers like Yovani Gollardo, Kyle Lohse, Willy Peralta, and Marco Estrada. The Brewers rotation in 2013 could have been called decent, finishing sixth in hits allowed, ninth in ERA and 11th in batting average allowed, in the National League. According to Brewers’ general manager Doug Melvin,
Matt is an established top-of-the-rotation pitcher who provides our staff with experience and quality depth.
The Brewers, who finished at just 76-69 last year in the wins column, do need the help. Garza has some impressive stats in his career. He was the MVP of the 2008 League Championship Series with the Tampa Bay Rays and in 2010 he threw his first no hitter against the Detoit Tigers. He then went on to pitch well for the Cubs and the Rangers albeit fighting injuries.
If Garza can remain healthy he offers stability and balance to the Brewers’ rotation. He also has a good track record at the Brewers’ Miller Park posting a 3.42 ERA and 27 strikouts in 23 2/3 innings in four starts there.