Image Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
2013 Team: Texas Rangers
Key 2013 Stats: 10-6 W-L, 3.82 ERA, 136 K, 42 BB
Garza made his debut in 2006 for the Minnesota Twins. After bouncing between the majors and minors for two seasons, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays where he became a key member of their 2008 pennant winning team. Since then, Garza has been a solid, if unspectacular performer. He can generally be counted on to keep his ERA under 4.00 and maintain a favorable strikeout to walk ratio. He has also excelled in the postseason, earning MVP honors in the 2008 ALCS.
Why He Might Be a Good Fit
Garza would be a good fit in the Phillies rotation behind Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. He wouldn’t be a “third ace,” but he would likely provide them with quality starts just about every time out. Signing him will likely require at least a four-year deal, but since he’s only going to be 30 years old in 2014, there shouldn’t be too much concern about his effectiveness fading towards the end of the contract.
Why He Might Not Be a Good Fit
Garza isn’t an ace, but considering the dearth of good pitching options on the free agent market, he’s almost assuredly going to be paid like one. The Phillies already have a good amount of money tied up in their starting rotation, so unless they expect 2011 results (and they really shouldn’t, because as mentioned, Garza is good but he’s no ace), they might not want to spend much more.
While his age isn’t an issue, his injury history is slightly worrisome. He has missed time due to injury in each of the past two seasons. That’s always a concern when offering a long-term contract to a pitcher.
Barring a trade, Garza is probably the Phillies’ best option for upgrading the rotation. Yes, he would cost the team some money, but if the Phillies are truly expecting an upcoming television contract windfall, then that shouldn’t be their main concern. Signing him would not cost the team a compensatory draft pick, which is much more crucial in my opinion.
Projections have Garza receiving an annual salary near $16 million. If they signed him, they could then reduce their payroll by getting rid of Kyle Kendrick, who is expected to make around $8 million in 2014. Would $8 million be worth it to upgrade from Kendrick to Garza? I believe it would be.