Yesterday a Milwaukee Brewers blog with a "good source" reported that the team had signed free agent pitcher Matt Garza. Although reports have now surfaced that there is no deal yet, I'll play along and assume the signing will be official soon.
But why, Matt? Why?! I can't believe Garza would settle and sign with the Brewers, especially at the $52 million (over four years) salary that was originally "reported." Maybe this is all just wishful thinking by some Brewers fans? Or maybe this is really what has become of Garza's career at this point?
Garza has not been the perfect picture of health, but it's not as bad as people think. He made 31 starts in 2011, throwing 198 innings. 2012 has been considered a lost year, but he actually pitched more than 100 innings and made 18 starts. Then last year, once he was healthy, he was on pace to have one of his best seasons until he arrived in Texas and lost his steam.
He is clearly better than he is being given credit for if he does end up signing this deal. From 2007 until being traded by the Cubs last summer, his season ERA remained under 4.00. He looked so good last year, that Chicago was able to get a great package of four prospects from the Texas Rangers in return for Garza's expensive and expiring contract. I do wonder if the Cubs would've traded Garza if they had known he could be extended at this price. Maybe in the end it will be worth it, based on the eventual fates of the prospects the team grabbed in the deal. But I think we were all expecting Garza to land a bigger deal this winter.
So why stoop so low? The Brewers are terrible. Their "best" player is a lying steroid user who is willing to trample on top of anyone on his way to the top. There is some young talent in Gomez and Segura. But can Lucroy keep hitting? Can Weeks still play at a decent level? Can Ramirez even play in half of the games in 2014?
Garza would certainly improve the rotation, one that saw Tom Gorzelanny make ten starts last year. But what's with the lowball offer? Maybe Garza is willing to take less to face the Cubs, but I've never gotten that kind of vibe from him.
If this contract does play out this way, then Milwaukee is getting a good deal at $13 million per year while Garza is 30-33 years old. Masahiro Tanaka just secured four (and up to seven) years at nearly $10 million more per season, and he has not thrown a single pitch in this league. Can his numbers possibly be twice as good as Garza's from now through 2017? I doubt it.