Looking at Matt Garza

One trade name that has popped in recent weeks is that of Matt Garza. We know for a fact that Yanks were scouting him recently, but have heard mostly negative reports on his availability. The Cubs just gave up 3 of their top 4 prospects to acquire him, and with one more year of team control and a low price tag this year (5.95M) considering his production (2011 WAR-2.9) you figure it will cost plenty if he is made available. But the Cubs are out of it, so a package of MLB ready talent may make sense for them where they fill multiple needs heading into 2012. Yankee GM Brian Cashman may have a package of prospects he’d be willing to part with for rotation help this year that doesn’t upset his depth chart too much, and could shop around a few places to see if he gets any nibbles. We all know the Yanks could use a #2. Is Garza worth it?

Based on this season’s numbers, the answer is a resounding “Yes”. On the surface, his 4-7 record and 3.80 (NL) ERA doesn’t scream ‘#2 starter’ to the average fan. But looking deeper at the numbers that really matter, and you see an outstanding starter on a bad team. His K/9 is a career high 9.08 this year (7.36 career). His 2.92 FIP  is almost a full run lower than his ERA. His 48.2 GB% is outstanding for a pitcher who misses as many bats as he does, and is well above his career mark of 40.7%. The only pitchers with higher GB% and K/9 above 8.0 are the likes of Gio Gonzalez, Felix Hernandez, Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels. None of those guys are even remotely available. As a veteran of both the Twins and Rays, we know he can pitch in the AL East. His Home/Road splits are pretty stark, but a quick look at his game log shows that to be a result of a few bad outings and small sample noise. Velocity has held steady, and has even gone up a tick this year. He’s been remarkably healthy, making 30+ starts every year since 2007. He looks in every way like a top flight pitcher who at 27 is just entering his prime.

If Brian Cashman has a package in mind that he’s willing to part with, and it’s enough to land Garza but not Jimenez, I make that move. The difference between 2011 Jimenez and Garza isn’t enough to pay significantly more for one over the other, and one could argue there are less red flags attached to Garza than Jimenez. Now we just have to wait and see if Cubs GM Jim Hendry is willing to listen.

0 thoughts on “Looking at Matt Garza

  1. Any sightings of Cubs scouts at Trenton & Scranton games (usually an indication of serious trade talks)? Would a package including Nova, Warren and Joseph suffice?

    • Even if the Cubs are sending scouts, it may not mean much. Clubs scout each other all the time, and the Yankee scouts watching Garza pitch may very well just be them doing their due diligence. Just in case Hendry shifts gears.

      BTW-No, I don’t see that package as being enough. There will be at least one top prospect in a deal. Again, the Cubs just gave up 3 of their top 4 guys to land Garza last year.

  2. I don’t know enough of the minors to be pitching real advice, except that Nova is likely ready to bloom into a reliable starter who could even excel in a moderate way, at least. I would think, if Joseph is a good hitter/some second base with not much potential for the outfield or ready 1st base power, then that’s a crap shoot for a team satisfied in prospects at second.

    So, if lack of hype, but fan-voiced opinion to try Noesi, Warren or Phelps on the Yankees, makes them near-ready prospects; of course, Noesi, too, having proven several times that he can navigate a lineup, makes this the likely “additional depth” referred to.

    I don’t know Betances except as a loud prospect, but Garza, I like him. He seems tough to the occasion and a sincere team player. I called him “the Pharoah” once, tho I was shot down, appropriately – should have included a Cecil B. DeMille reference. Competes hard, pretty good stuff, such that he will learn to pitch cleverly when his raw stuff diminishes with age. Worth having, as you said. Now, so is Nova and Noesi, and, maybe, Betances, tho I’ve heard he is approaching Nolan or Randy wild.

    • Dellin has shown a tendency to have the wheels come off, which is why some scouts have always projected him to be a reliever. His stuff is top shelf, he gives up very few hits, so he can live with a 4 BB/9 at the MLB level. But he’s doing that this year in AA, facing hitters that aren’t very patient. There’s no doubt that his wildness is cause for concern.

      • steve, I think he’s 24 and about 6’8″ right? The reason I cited Nolan and Randy was that they were both tall pitchers that took a long time, maybe till they were 28 or 29 before they got control of their deliveries, then their confidence bloomed, and they blew them down.

        • Nolan never really did figure out his control issues, he’s the all time BB leader by a mile. Randy figured it out and became a HOF pitcher. Dellin has that kind of upside, but don;t get too caught up in that. There’s a busload of guys with Randy Johnson’s stuff and size who never became Randy Johnson. Health, mechanics, personal issues, etc all can derail a promising career. RJ is the exception, not the rule.

          • This.

            Everyone wants to go to the extreme and point out Randy Johnson, or Nolan Ryan when Betances’ or Banuelos’ control problems come up. It’s borderline crazy to associate those names with guys like that, even if you are just pointing out guys who eventually made it work. Anytime you start comparing 20-23 year old kids with hall of famers, you are on a slippery slope.

            I feel I’m being painted in the light of someone who hates our prospects. This simply isn’t true. It just seems like everyone is expecting so much from these 3 young kids (Montero included), there has to be reason bringing the expectations down. If for no other reason to be a counter weight.

            You got two guys walking 5 batters per 9 in AA, and everyone seems to want to dismiss it. IT doesn’t mean they won’t make it, but it’s certainly nothing to overlook.

  3. No way on earth you give up the same package for Garza as for Jiminez. You don’t pay for a half year’s performance, you pay for potential, you pay for consistent performance, and you pay for expected future performance. Under no circumstances is Matt Garza projected to be a better pitcher than Jiminez.

    • Maybe I wasn’t clear enough, but this is what I said.

      If Brian Cashman has a package in mind that he’s willing to part with, and it’s enough to land Garza but not Jimenez, I make that move.

  4. I don’t see the Cubs moving Garza this year, and if they do not for a package we would be giving up. I like Garza’s stuff, and he’s pitched in the AL East which is always good. But I don’t see Garza in the same light as Jimenez, and I would be uncomfortable unloading a big package for him.

  5. I wouldn’t offer a top package for Garza if Jimenez couldn’t be acquired.

    If the Cubs are listening to offers for Garza, they’ve tipped their hand that he is not worth all they gave up for him thus he is worth a lesser package otherwise why put him on the trading block so soon?

    Cuz they gave away the farm for him means the Yanks (or anyone else) has to undo that mistake by giving away their farm? Nah-ah. Let him rot with the Cubs.

    Hughes for Garza straight up and let’s see Hughes help the Cubs win their first World Series in over a century. Montero and Betances for Jimenez. Burnett for Derek Lowe.

    Sabathia/Jimenez/Garza/Garcia/Lowe for the rest of this year, Sabathia/Garza/Jimenez/Garcia or Lowe/Sabathia for the ALDS, Sabathia/Jimenez/Garza/Nova/Lowe for next year.