Tag: Matt Garza

Matt Garza Injury: Updates on Brewers SP’s Lat and Return

The Milwaukee Brewers announced Tuesday they placed starting pitcher Matt Garza on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Saturday, with a right lat strain. It’s unclear when he will return.

Continue for updates.

Latest on Garza’s Recovery Timeline

Tuesday, April 5

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Garza will miss at least four-to-six weeks.

Garza Comments on Lat Injury

Tuesday, April 5

“It just got suddenly tight and it was the last start before the season, so no need to push it,” Garza said, per MLB.com’s Chris Abshire. “More precautionary than anything. I didn’t feel comfortable.”

Garza Looking to Rebound with Healthy 2016 Season

Garza is coming off a brutal 2015 season in which he finished 6-14 with a 5.63 ERA. According to FanGraphs, his 4.94 FIP was the highest of his career, while his 0.6 WAR was his lowest since his rookie season in 2006.

The Brewers will be counting on Garza to rebound in 2016. They don’t have a ton of depth in their starting rotation, and they’re paying him $25 million over the next two seasons, so they need to get a return on their investment.

Starting the regular season on the DL isn’t an encouraging sign for Garza’s chances this year. Milwaukee called up right-hander Tyler Cravy from its Triple-A affiliate, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, to take his place in the pitching staff.

Cravy appeared in 14 games for Milwaukee in 2015, posting an 0-8 record and a 5.70 ERA. The Brewers have an off day Thursday and then another on April 12. Manager Craig Counsell can shuffle his rotation around a bit to avoid Cravy having to make a start if that’s the team’s plan following his call-up.

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Matt Garza’s Anniversary Trip with Wife Cost Him Contract with Angels

Timing is everything.

Pitcher Matt Garza was a free agent this winter, but he was having a hard time getting many offers. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to be available when teams wanted to talk.

He had an offer early in the offseason from the Los Angeles Angels. The club offered him a four-year, $52 million deal. Instead of having a chance to mull the contract over, an anniversary trip cost him a chance to consider an offer.

MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy was able to talk to Garza about the situation:

They offered, but it was more of a weird situation. I was on vacation with my wife and I didn’t want to be disturbed, and it was like, ‘Here it is, we’ll pull it in a certain amount of hours.’ I didn’t have a chance to respond, so I just said, ‘Whatever. It is what it is.’

It wasn’t anything big. It was an offer and I said, ‘I’m on vacation. I’m not thinking about baseball, Dude. Me and my wife are enjoying ourselves.’

Garza and his wife Serina were on vacation in Turks and Caicos when the Angels made the offer. It wasn’t a long-standing offer apparently.

Once that offer was on the table, the 30-year-old had to play the waiting game. Even though he has posted a 3.84 ERA in eight seasons, there wasn’t much movement in the pitching market.

It took about six weeks for the Milwaukee Brewers to step in. Garza, via McCalvy, signed a four-year deal worth $50 million guaranteed, plus a vesting option for a fifth year.

The right-hander stayed positive throughout the winter: 

I had no worries. God’s going to make things work out either way. It is what it is. I guess you didn’t want me that bad, I take it. I found a team that wants me and makes me feel at home. I was looking for a great fit and I believe I found it.

The couple’s vacation apparently cost Garza $2 million in guaranteed money. Although Los Angeles certainly has the more talented roster, the veteran is happy with where he landed. 

From February through October, MLB players don’t have much time to spend with their families. When they have free time in the offseason, family comes first. That’s a rule that Garza takes seriously, even if his future is on the line. 

[H/t Greg Smith of Black Sports Online]

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Texas Rangers: Most Memorable Events of 2013

The Texas Rangers are looking to put the 2013 season completely in their rear view as they gear up for 2014.

Last year was filled with both good and bad memories, from a near-perfect game to a trade that didn’t pan out. The team also made history during a July series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Texas didn’t get a chance at a playoff run, but it was still a fun season to watch.

We are going to look at some of the most memorable events from this past season, whether we want to remember it forever or erase it from memory.

What are the most memorable events for you from 2013?

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Which of New York Yankees’ Big-Name Pitching Targets Are the Best Values

In New York, the Yankees are preparing to spend money like it’s 2008 all over again. Five years after drowning their third-place finish sorrows away by spending over $400 million combined on CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett, the Yankees are poised to hand out big-money deals. The names have changed, but the objective remains to spend.

According to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, the Yankees are heading to next week’s general manager meetings armed with cash to spend on free agents.

After watching the steady and reliable Andy Pettitte retire and allowing the unsteady and unreliable Phil Hughes to walk away without a qualifying offer, one of general manager Brian Cashman’s main offseason priorities is to find starting pitching behind Sabathia and Ivan Nova in the five-man rotation. Unless Hiroki Kuroda accepts another one-year deal, three potential spots are open.

Even if Michael Pineda emerges from a two-year shoulder rehab to re-capture his 2011 form, the Yankees will need multiple arms to fill out a good rotation. At least one of them will likely emerge from the free-agent market.

Using Heyman’s projected contracts for each of the six starters on New York’s radar, here’s a ranking of the best values of the group. The rankings are based on a 1-10 scale, with higher numbers signifying a better value for the Yankees organization.

Masahiro Tanaka

The 24-year-old Japanese star is the ideal target for New York’s offseason spending plans. As the franchise attempts to spend big while staying under the $189 million luxury tax in 2014, Tanaka represents the best of both worlds.

As chronicled in a September primer, Tanaka profiles as a top-tier starter in the majors. Even if he’s not a true No. 1 starter, adding him to be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter is sufficient for New York’s bottom line. 

According to Heyman, a seven-year, $140 million contract is reasonable for Tanaka, but only half of that will actually go the the player. With $70 million allotted as a posting fee for the rights to speak with Tanaka’s agent, the Yankees would only be spending $10 million per season, against the luxury tax, on a pitcher with the potential to emerge as a valuable contributor.

Value ranking: 8


Matt Garza

Despite including Garza, along with Jacoby Ellsbury, as free-agent targets the Yankees should avoid this winter, he’s the second-best value on this board.

Since becoming a full-time starter in 2008, Garza has amassed a 108 ERA+ over 1,049.1 innings pitched. Although that’s good for third on this list, not including Tanaka’s stats from Japan, behind Jimenez (112) and Haren (111), the former Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers starter has brought something to the table the others have not: consistency.

Despite never accumulating one great season or finishing in the top five of Cy Young voting, Garza has never posted a season with an ERA over 4.00. By maintaining a level performance for six straight seasons, the Yankees will know what they are paying for when offering a contract to the 29-year-old right-handed pitcher.

If Garza’s deal comes in near the five-year, $85 million projection, it will be a decent deal for both player and team.

Value ranking: 6


Dan Haren

When the 2011 season ended, Dan Haren looked like the type of pitcher who was poised to eventually hit the free-agent jackpot. After wrapping up an excellent season for the Los Angeles Angels, Haren was the owner of a career-adjusted ERA of 119, according to Baseball-Reference.com. His ability to pitch in both the NL (Arizona, St. Louis) and the AL (Oakland, Los Angeles) made him one of the surest things in the sport.

Over the last two seasons, however, the wheels have come off for the former right-handed ace. Over 60 starts in 2012 and 2013, Haren pitched to a 84 ERA+ over 346.1 innings, per Baseball-Reference.com. That adjusted ERA was 16 percent below league average. In the span of two years, Haren went from nearly 20 percent better than the average pitcher to nearly 20 percent worse. 

Still, the projection of a one-year deal worth less than $10 million is far from a ridiculous pact. Even though Haren is not the pitcher he was just two seasons ago, he’s still a lock for 30-plus starts every year. If the Yankees truly need two veteran starters, they could do worse than inking Haren to be the second-tier arm. 

Value ranking: 5

Bronson Arroyo

As the offseason unfolds, the Yankees can attempt to fix their rotation issues by acquiring high-end ability (Tanaka, Garza), signing a low-risk, high-reward arm (Haren), or, in a route that won’t be as popular in New York, turning spring training into a competition between young arms like David Phelps and Michael Pineda.

If that’s the route Brian Cashman takes, an ultra-reliable arm will be needed if or when the young arms falter during the rigors of a 162-game season. If innings are needed, Bronson Arroyo fits the bill. Over the last nine years, Arroyo has cleared the 199-inning plateau in every single season. 

Of course, the drawback with Arroyo is a lack of upside. As he gets set to embark on his age-37 season, expecting greatness is foolish. Over 14 seasons, the former Boston Red Sox farmhand has pitched to an adjusted ERA of 104. 

On a one or two-year deal, the fit would be ideal. The projection of a three-year, $35 million pact is too high for a pitcher who has little upside.

Value ranking: 4

Ubaldo Jimenez

Will the real Ubaldo Jimenez please stand up? When baseball executives prepare offer sheets for the free-agent starter, it’s likely the offers will vary based on which version of the pitcher is expected to arrive in 2014.

If the Jimenez of 2010 and 2013 is on the market, he’s worth every dollar of the four-year, $68 million deal that is projected by Jon Heyman. If the Jimenez of 2011 and 2012 is back, anything more than a one-year deal is foolish.

The following chart isolates the contrasting versions of Jimenez. Notice the strikeout and strikeout-to-walk numbers. When the former Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians starter has command, he’s excellent. When that command disappears, he’s very easy to hit.

For the money he’ll likely receive, there’s too much variance in performance to be comfortable in New York.

Value ranking: 3

Scott Feldman

Unlike the other pitchers on this list, Feldman doesn’t provide bang for the buck, upside, variance in performance or long-term durability. After 234 outings, Feldman isn’t a surprise anymore. At age 30, the right-handed pitcher should only be brought aboard to compete for a spot in the back-end of a rotation and given no more than a one-year deal.

According to Heyman’s projections, a two-year, $20 million deal could be in his future. For that cash, New York could sign both Haren and Arroyo. 

If February rolls around and Feldman is still available, any team should explore trying to bring him in as spring-training injury insurance or to compete with a young arm on a one-year deal. Until that scenario presents itself, the Yankees would be wise to allocate their funds on an arm who can give them something concrete for the money spent.

Value ranking: 2

Agree? Disagree?

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3 Dream Free-Agent Pickups for Washington Nationals

For Washington Nationals fans, the MLB offseason is the time to dream. 

Nats fans can dream about the season that could have been or the season that is yet to come. Or perhaps they can dream about the free agents who will help the team next season. 

Of course, some potential free-agent signings are just that: a dream. A mirage. A figment of the imagination. 

Thankfully for Nats fans, it is only Nov. 8. The offseason alarm clock won’t go off for another five months. So keep dreaming. 

On that note, here are three dream free-agent pickups for the Washington Nationals this offseason. 


Note: All statistics courtesy of MLB.com unless noted otherwise. 

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Is Matt Garza Good Enough to Transform an MLB Rotation?

Major League Baseball’s free-agent period is open for business, signaling the unofficial start of the hot stove, yearly banter about the ridiculous nature of long-term contracts and, as always, a premium placed upon high-end starting pitching.

In order to navigate through the marathon of a 162-game regular season, pitching depth is imperative for any organization. Developing and cultivating young, cheap and dominant pitching has helped the St. Louis Cardinals become a National League powerhouse in recent years.

Of course, not every team has the scouting and player development staff that has been assembled in St. Louis. For everyone else, a dearth of top-tier prospects in the minor leagues will lead to exorbitant prices thrown at free-agent starters. 

One of those free agents is the enigmatic and tantalizing Matt Garza

Due to a midseason trade from Chicago to Texas, Garza is a rare 29-year-old (soon to be 30) potential All-Star that does not enter this offseason with draft pick compensation tied to his impending contract. For teams interested, it will simply be about dollars, years and future production.

Based on projections from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, and a pair of industry experts, an unbiased agent and general manager, Garza could garner anywhere from $66 million to $85 million in free agency. Considering the market for starting pitching afforded Edwin Jackson $52 million just last year, the dollar amount seems reasonable for a (relatively) young pitcher on the open market who doesn’t come with a draft pick attachment or history of major arm surgery.

Salary and expectations are two different things for general managers to think about over the next month. It’s clear that Garza’s consistency (sub-4 ERA in every full big league season), ability to pitch inside the AL East (3.86 ERA in 94 starts with Tampa Bay) and age will lead to a sizable contract. What the next half decade of Garza’s career will look like, however, is up in the air.

As pointed out when discussing why the Yankees should not include Garza in their offseason plans, dominance has not been a consistent part of his reputation since 2006. At times, Garza can transform a rotation, but not on a start-to-start basis. Paying the right-handed pitcher to enhance a staff isn’t a poor allocation of payroll, but expecting a total rotation transformation is foolhardy.

Over the last three years, Garza has been a mix of very good and confounding. Normally, outstanding pitchers will peak in the seasons that precede free agency, setting themselves up for a massive payday. On one hand, Garza has placed himself in the conversation with some of baseball’s best starters since 2011. 

Despite his inclusion on that list, directly below Madison Bumgarner, it’s impossible not to take note of how many fewer innings he’s pitched over the last three seasons, due to elbow and lat injuries, than the stars above him. Also, despite averaging a healthy 8.4 K/9 since 2011, the total figure has dropped in each season from 9.0 to 8.3 to 7.9. That’s not the kind of trend that typically accompanies franchise-changing arms.

At this juncture of Garza’s career, he’s similar to another supremely talented, yet enigmatic starter at a comparable career stage. The following shows Garza’s career numbers side-by-side with that pitcher. At the time, the mystery arm was a year away from free agency and still assumed to have another rotation-altering level to his game. 

As you may have guessed, Mystery Pitcher is A.J. Burnett. The similarities between a younger, confounding Burnett and the current Garza are eerie. Both had injury issues, inconsistency and decent numbers through almost the exact same amount of career innings.

After a big 2008 season, Burnett signed a five-year, $82.5 million free-agent contract with the New York Yankees. While his contributions did help lead New York to a 2009 World Series title, the deal didn’t work out. Despite showing flashes of dominance, especially in Game 2 of the 2009 World Series, Burnett never put it all together, finishing his Yankees career with an unsightly 4.79 ERA over 98 starts.

To be fair, Garza isn’t Burnett. Although their statistics and player profiles are quite similar through a certain junction of their respective careers, lumping Garza into the Burnett 2.0 category isn’t totally justified. Over the next five years, Garza may pitch the best baseball of his career, more than justifying $80 million or more in free agency. 

When Brian Cashman gave Burnett a lucrative deal after the 2008 season, he was banking on Burnett, along with CC Sabathia, transforming the Yankees rotation for years to come. That dream never became reality. 

Five years later, Garza embarks on free agency with very similar red flags. No one is denying the ability and potential for more growth during the second half of his career, but counting on him to transform a rotation could be a major mistake.

Can Matt Garza transform a rotation?

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The Definitive Blueprint for a Successful Offseason by the San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants finished the 2013 season with a disappointing record of 76-86, 16 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.

The work to rebuild the roster has already begun for the Giants and GM Brian Sabean.

First, the Giants signed outfielder Hunter Pence to a five-year, $90 million contract. Pence played in every game for the Giants and was their top overall offensive weapon this past season.

Pence led the Giants with 27 home runs, 99 RBI and 22 steals. He also hit .283, with an OBP of .339 and OPS of .822. Pence’s all-out hustle made him a fan favorite, and he made no secret about his desire to remain a Giant.

Following the Pence signing, Sabean locked in starting pitcher Tim Lincecum with a two-year deal for $35 million. Although the Giants may have overpaid Lincecum somewhat, the value he brings to the team is more than just on the field.

Lincecum finished his second consecutive down year, although 2013 was definitely an improvement over 2012, when he finished with an ERA of 5.18 and WHIP of 1.468. 

This past season, Lincecum tossed 197.2 innings, allowing 184 hits and 76 walks, while striking out 193. He is learning how to get outs without the same velocity he had earlier in his career.

At the age of 29, Sabean and the Giants are counting on Lincecum having at least two more solid years in a Giants uniform.

With Pence and Lincecum in the fold, there are five critical areas that remain for the Giants. How the Giants address these needs will be a major factor in their success in 2014.

Let’s take a definitive look at the five remaining moves the Giants need to make to give them the best chance of recapturing the glory they found in their world championship seasons of 2010 and 2012.

All stats are courtesy of baseball-reference.com.

All contract information is courtesy of baseballprospectus.com.

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5 Players Who Must Prove They’re Clutch in 2013 Pennant Races

There is still plenty of baseball left to play. With the exception of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East, every division is more or less up for grabs.

But the fate of teams’ pursuit of the playoffs and World Series can sometimes depend on the performance of key players. For instance, if A.J. Burnett, who has sported a 2.73 ERA (versus park-adjusted 130 ERA+) to date, were to pitch poorly in the playoffs, his regular-season triumphs would all be for null.

Below are five players who must prove they’re clutch in the 2013 pennant races.

All statistics (through July 8) sourced from Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com.

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The 5 MLB Teams That Can’t Afford to Fail at the Trade Deadline

With the July 31 trade deadline looming, less than two weeks remain for teams looking to make a non-waiver deal.

The deadline represents an integral period of time for both contending and rebuilding organizations. Contenders, like the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers, must decide if this year is theirs and sacrifice a bit of the future to improve the present.

On the flip side, a team like the New York Mets would have to juggle an already-livid fanbase if they entertained trading homegrown closer Bobby Parnell, for instance. While a big return for Parnell would help fill gaping voids for 2014 and beyond, it’s never a popular decision to throw in the towel—especially in New York.

Regardless of a team’s direction, the strategy must be a resolute one: Failure simply isn’t an option.

Below are five MLB teams that can’t afford to fail at the trade deadline this year.

All statistics sourced (through July 18, 2013) from Baseball-Reference.com.

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MLB Trade Deadline: 5 Players Who Could Tip the Balance of Power If Moved

The trade deadline is less than two weeks away and there is no doubt that several high-profile players will be changing teams before it passes. Players like Matt Garza, Cliff Lee and Chase Utley could all be dealt soon and may end up having huge impacts on playoff races.

Even the teams in first place coming out of the All-Star break know they have holes to fill, and now that there are two Wild Card spots, more teams feel they can make a run, and you can bet that the players on this list will be pursued heavily.

The following players are ranked according to the impact they can have if traded.

Present and past statistics, as well as present ability, are the best ways to judge the impact a player might have if traded.

It is also important to note how a player’s current environment factors into their statistics. A power hitter who plays in a big park might not have great numbers, but could do a lot for a contending team that plays in a hitters’ park.

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