Just as it was suspected, the dominoes on the free-agent pitching market have started to fall after Masahiro Tanaka announced he was signing with the New York Yankees.
This time, it is Matt Garza, who is signing a four-year, $52 million deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, according to a tweet by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
The move is surprising on Garza’s part for many reasons. With an average annual salary of $13 million, it seems Garza either settled or his value wasn’t as high as he thought. That could be due to the injury issues that likely scared some teams away.
Garza is no doubt a great strikeout pitcher, averaging 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings over the last three years. However, there have been some injury concerns with four trips to the disabled list over the last four years. Three of those trips were because of elbow issues. It seems, though, the Brewers weren’t scared away from his injury history.
When healthy, Garza can be one of the top strikeout pitchers in the National League. He’s going to come in and immediately be the ace of the Milwaukee staff, which includes Kyle Lohse, Yovani Gallardo, Wily Peralta and Marco Estrada.
It’s not exactly the best rotation in baseball, but it’s a rotation that can do some damage.
The biggest advantage to the signing is Gallardo doesn’t have to be the team’s ace anymore. While he is a good strikeout pitcher as well, Gallardo is not a true ace. He’s more of a top-of-the-line No. 2 starter. Some people may not agree with that statement, especially considering he went 11-1 with a 3.00 ERA after Zack Greinke was traded during the 2012 season.
But look at his stats from 2013 when he was the ace from the beginning of the year. He went 12-10 with a 4.18 ERA and 144 strikeouts. Those numbers were his worst since his rookie season in 2007.
Now, Gallardo can settle back into the No. 2 role, a role he thrived in behind Greinke.
Now, all the Brewers have to do is build up their offense a little more and they could compete in the NL Central. Garza was only a piece to the puzzle. There’s still a lot more pieces that are needed.