On Thursday, it was reported that Matt Garza and the Milwaukee Brewers had a deal in place for four years and $52million pending something. On Sunday, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio removed any uncertainty surrounding the negotiations when he confirmed the signing, which looks to be fours and $50 million with the possibility of a vesting fifth year at $13 million.
The Brewers finished the 2013 season in fourth place in the NL Central with a seemingly okay pitching staff. It wasn't the best, but it wasn't a complete disaster and this move should help bolster the rotation for a Brewers' team that hopes to be competitive this season.
With the addition of Matt Garza, the Brewers' starting rotation looks to add about two wins to their 2013 totals and while it's certainly not enough to bring the team into contention, it's a start.
When you look at Garza's stats, you can see that he was above-average last season in split time between the Cubs and Rangers. His league adjusted numbers were only slightly above average (93 ERA-, 95 FIP-, 96 xFIP) , but it might be just what the Brewers need - the addition of a league-average arm to their staff.
There's also Garza's familiarity with the NL Central, as he spent the last two and a half seasons with the Cubs before being traded to the Rangers, so it won't be like dropping a member of the Padres into the AL East and hoping they can hold their own. However, it also should be noted that he was worth -0.5 rWAR during his time with the Cubs compared to his 6.0 fWAR in two full seasons with the with the North Siders, so there's some uncertainty in our evaluations of his performance. Regardless of your WAR preference, Garza will likely add some more value to the Brewers because $13 million a year doesn't demand a Cy Young award winner. A quality start every fifth day would be great for the Brewers, and the early projections on Garza say he's capable of that.
With a 2014 rotation that should also include Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, Marco Estrada, and Wily Peralta, I would assume that Garza would be slotted somewhere near the top of the rotation — perhaps as the second starter. As for the three years after that (and possibly a fourth depending on the details surrounding the vesting option), as long as Garza can stay healthy (he did just turn 30) and can keep up slightly above average numbers, it's safe to assume he could be a middle of the rotation starter for the next Brewers playoff contender on a deal that shouldn't preclude other improvements.
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Jen Mac Ramos is a contributor for Beyond the Box Score. You can follow her on twitter at @_jenmac.