Hot Stove Targeting: Matt Garza
With the Cubs coming off a 71-win season, there have been rumors that everyone on the team is available. To the Yankees, nobody on their roster would be more attractive than Matt Garza. A soon to be 28, AL East tested pitcher with strikeout stuff, Garza is just the type of guy the Yanks are looking for.
Since becoming a full-time starter in 2008 with Tampa, the strong 6’4″ 215 pound Garza has ranked 28th amongst MLB pitchers in WAR, having made at least 30 starts in each of the last 4 seasons. Over that period he has compiled a 44-41 record with a 3.72 ERA/ 3.92 FiP / 4.01 xFiP. He’s had a 7.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 over that time also.
Garza has shown a propensity for missing bats and had a career high 8.95 K/9 & 11.2% Swing/Miss rate in 2011. Overall, 2011 was his best season in almost every aspect as he also had career highs with a 3.32 /2.95 / 3.19 line and only a 0.64 HR rate despite pitching in HR-friendly Wrigley Field.
Garza’s arsenal consists of a Plus, 4-Seam Fastball that averages 93.7 MPH and hits up to 96-97 at times. He throws the 4-seamer 38% of the time and also incorporates a 2-seam FB that gets better downward action that he threw 16% of the time in 2011. Garza has a Plus Slider that is his most effective offering. It averages 86 MPH and is clearly his Out pitch that he goes to over 40% of the time with 2-strikes on hitters. He also features a Curveball & Changeup but they are definitely his secondary offerings as they lack the effectiveness of his Fastballs & Slider.
Garza does not show any discernible platoon splits as he’s actually a little more effective vs lefties in his career:
vs LH Hitters .239/.316/.373/.689
vs RH Hitters .261/.315/.410/.726
Another positive is Garza is proven in the AL East. In 3 seasons, he never had an ERA over 3.95 or a WHIP over 1.26. And those stats were accumulated during his 24-26 year old seasons which is quite impressive. His post-season experience only consists of 5 starts but he was a solid 2-1, 3.48 ERA & 1.29 WHIP. He was MVP of the 2008 AL Championship Series when he threw 2 excellent games against Boston to vault the Rays into the World Series.
This season Garza had the highest GB rate of his career at 46.3% but this was a big difference from the 35.8% he produced in Tampa in 2010 where he also had a high 1.23 HR/9. It seems Garza made some adjustments when pitching in Wrigley by throwing more 2-seamers and keeping the ball down in the zone to limit HRs and Fly balls in general. However, it’s possible that 2011 was a bit of an outlier and he his GB% will dip down closer to his career mark of 41%. As we know, RH fly-ball pitchers aren’t ideal in Yankee Stadium but I think Garza has the stuff to succeed there and if he pitches the way he did in 2011, he really isn’t a fly-ball pitcher anymore.
Fit for the Yanks?
Without a doubt, he would help the Yankees. He would slide right in as their #2 starter and supply 30 starts/200 ip of solid baseball. The questions are….is he available and what is the price?
New president Theo Epstein * GM Jed Hoyer have taken over a Cubs organization with little talent on the Major Lg roster and a depleted Farm system that ranks as one of the worst in MLB. Matt Garza is one of the team’s few attractive assets along with Carlos Marmol, Starlin Castro and Ryan Dempster. Epstein has made it clear that everyone is available and although Garza would be a good building block, trading him could also be a tool to re-build the barren system, especially considering he only has 2 more seasons of team control before hitting the open market. Garza made $5.9M in 2011 and will probably get somewhere close to $8-9M in arbitration this season.
What Would it take to Get Him?
One thing the Cubs do have is money. So there is no reason they need to trade Garza, but as mentioned it may be the best way to quickly re-stock the system. The Cubs gave up 5 prospects to get Garza from TB including their 1st and 4th best prospects at the time and 2 useful players that showed promise with the Rays in Sam Fuld & Robinson Chirnos.
I would think the price for the Yanks would be pretty steep considering they’d be getting 2 years of a solid pitcher in his prime. From a Yankee persepective, it seems Cashman is very reluctant to give up Montero or Banuelos unless he is getting a true #1 starter. So it seems any package would start with Dellin Betances along with either Romine or Nunez, a pitcher from the Noesi/Warren/Phelps bunch and a 4th prospect. Do you guys think that is fair from a Yankees and Cubs perspective? As a Cubs fan, would you trade Garza or try to build around him? Let me know what you think?