At a good price considering the market for pitching this offseason, the Milwaukee Brewers reportedly have agreed with right-hander Matt Garza on a four-year deal worth $52 million. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the deal first.
UPDATE: The Brewers tweeted about 6 p.m. CT that “negotiations are ongoing” but a final deal is not done. Rosenthal later tweeted that Garza took a physical and apparently passed it, because the Brewers were going to introduce him at a news conference. Adam McCalvy of MLB.com said the holdup was not related to Garza’s health.
This blog post by McCalvy indicates there won’t be a resolution Thursday. The Stew will update further once the deal is official. Unless it never happens.
Considering factors including the average annual value of $13 million — about $9 million less per season than Masahiro Tanaka got from the Yankees on Wednesday — it’s a bargain for the Brewers. They also won’t have to forfeit a draft pick; Garza wasn’t offered salary arbitration by his previous team, the Rangers. It’s also what Edwin Jackson got from the Cubs a year earlier, and Garza’s career results compare favorably to his.
Unlike Jackson, Garza has recent injury issues — with his elbow, shoulder and side — having gone on the disabled list for those reasons. Other than a small health risk, along with a propensity to get into Twitter arguments, Garza seems like a safe choice. He was the No. 13 available player in free agency this season, according to Jeff Passan’s Ultimate Free Agent Tracker. The two best unsigned free agents are No. 7 Ubaldo Jimenez and No. 10 Ervin Santana. (A third free-agent pitcher, No. 16 A.J. Burnett, has indicated he is retiring.)
One of the reasons the Garza deal came down was the strong relationship that Brewers owner Mark Attanasio has, Rosenthal says, with Garza’s agent, Naz Balelo. His client list includes Brewers slugger Ryan Braun and former outfielder Norichika Aoki.
Here’s what the Brewers starting rotation looks like:
• Kyle Lohse
• Yovani Gallardo
• Matt Garza
• Wily Peralta
• Marco Estrada
They’ve also added slugger Mark Reynolds, who’ll be better at first base by leaps and bounds over who the Brewers played there in 2013. If Khris Davis keeps hitting, if Carlos Gomez doesn’t regress too much, if Aramis Ramirez stays healthy and if the bullpen pitches well — are those enough “ifs?” — the Brewers might be looking at wild-card contention. Unless that’s the kiss of death right there.
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