Brewers Officially Sign Matt Garza To Four-Year, $50M Deal
Matt Garza is finally out of the free agent circuit. Reports came out on Thursday that the Milwaukee Brewers had agreed to terms with the 30 year old right hander on a four-year contract, though it was not made official until the team sent out a press release on Sunday. Financially, Garza will receive $12.5M each year of the four years; netting him $50M in guaranteed money. The contract includes $4 million in incentives and a vesting option for 2018 at $13 million; pushing the maximum value of the deal to $67 million over five seasons.
Garza was one of the more highly sought free agent starters on the free agent market a few months back, yet he remained unsigned until this stage of the off-season; even after the New York Yankees‘ high profile signing of Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka was made official on Wednesday.
Though he is generally considered a solid, reliable starter (owning a 3.84 ERA, 1.283 WHIP for his career and throwing a minimum of 184 2/3 IP across 30 starts from 2008-2011), Garza has had some difficulties staying on the mound in recent years. A stress fracture to his pitching elbow and a lat strain suffered in the past two years has limited his cumulative innings total over the 2012 and 2013 seasons to just 259.
Despite his recent injury concerns, the Texas Rangers saw fit to trade a package of promising minor leaguers to the Chicago Cubs for Garza in July 2013 in an effort to improve their rotation in search of an A.L. West division title. With the Rangers, though, Garza was inconsistent; posting a 4-5 record, a 4.38 ERA and allowing 41 earned runs in 84 1/3 IP for Ron Washington‘s team down the stretch.
Garza now returns to the National League, where he spent all of 2011 and 2012 as a member of the Cubs’ rotation. He’s also back in the N.L. Central, the very division he became quite familiar with while pitching at Wrigley Field. While his ability to stay healthy enough to avoid the D.L. is arguably the most important factor in the chances of Garza returning to the form he showed earlier in his career, the familiarity he ostensibly has with the National League may play a key role as well. It’s probably something that behooved the Brewers to invest as heavily in him as they have.
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