Free agent starting pitcher Matt Garza remains available. He has the ability to be a staff ace. He was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Texas Rangers that season to serve just that role on a potential playoff team. He struggled somewhat for them, going just 4-5 in 13 starts with a 4.38 ERA. Garza also surrendered 12 home runs during that stretch.
Still, Garza is a guy who maintained a 7.9 K/9 mark during the year and was borderline dominant with the Cubs. Unlike Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez, he will not cost his new team a draft pick. So what gives?
At this point you have to wonder if the Arizona Diamondbacks will become the favorite to land Garza’s services. Back on December 11th, Nick Piecoro of AZCentral Sports wrote the following on their situation this off-season:
Whether Towers will lavish riches upon a free agent in his search for a starting pitcher remains to be seen, but sources who have spoken with him say he has said it is a real option.
‘He said he’s flush with cash,’ a source said.
That could give Towers enough to spend on a free-agent starter such as Matt Garza, Ervin Santana or Masahiro Tanaka, assuming Japan’s Rakuten Golden Eagles decide to run him through the new posting system. If need be, Towers could always look to shed another contract or two, as he did with reliever Heath Bell last week, for more flexibility.
Since that time, Choo is off the market and the posting situation with Tanaka has only gotten murkier. Wouldn’t it make sense for the Diamondbacks to jump on the chance to sign Garza now? They could stay out of the bidding war for Tanaka (which they may or may not win) while snatching up one of the main back-up plans for teams who do not land the Japanese star. They could also avoid losing a draft pick on either of the other two guys (Santana or Jimenez), neither of whom is discernibly better than Garza.
GM Kevin Towers is reluctant to offer four or five years to a guy like Garza, but if he is serious about using his new TV money to sign a big-time starting pitcher, it might make sense for him to be proactive and try to sign Garza now while the majority of teams appear to be focused elsewhere.