• Brewers sign Garza to deal similar to Twins' Nolasco

    Sources indicate that the Milwaukee Brewers have now signed pitcher Matt Garza to the tune of four years, $52 million.

    This is notable for several reasons. The first being that this is a substantial savings from what he was originally projected as being worth going into the free agent season. At Twins Daily, we estimated that Garza would reach five years and $75 million in the Offseason Handbook. Instead, teams shied away from him. The second interesting piece is that this deal is basically the same one that the Twins gave starter Ricky Nolasco earlier in the winter (4 years, $49M + options).

    Comparatively, Garza, who is a year younger than Nolasco, has had a slightly better career. However according to Fangraphs.com, since 2010, the pair has been surprisingly similar. What you see is that while the raw numbers are very alike, Garza gets better marks for his ERA, xFIP and FIP for spending time in the American League while Nolasco has been in the National League.

    Of course, one of the biggest concerns of teams making these sizable investments is how a player will hold up over the course of that agreement. In Nolasco’s case, he has been rock solid over his career meanwhile Garza has been in-and-out of infirmaries for arm-related ailments (Nolasco’s have been mainly trunk and thigh).
    1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson tweeted out today that the Twins were not in pursuit of Garza at the requested four-year rate, sticking firm to a potential two-year deal after signing Nolasco, Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey. Still, the question that will undoubtedly arise from Twins fans is -- should they have targeted Garza instead of Nolasco?
    This article was originally published in blog: Brewers sign Garza to deal similar to Twins' Nolasco started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 73 Comments
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      I have been a little leery of Garza for 3 reasons. A lot of his perceived value is fueled by strikeouts and stats like FIP which are heavily strikeout dependent. Strikeouts are fine, but they aren't the only stat to look at. 2nd, it has always bothered me that if Tampa Bay would have thought he was a top of the rotation guy, why didn't they keep him and build the rotation around him? The same is true of Chicago. They are in the same place as the Twins, why not keep him and build a rotation around him? Two different management teams have been trying to trade him from Chicago for 3 years.

      Finally there are the injury concerns. I guess I am not as high on Garza as others seem to be, largely for the reasons above.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Kind of boggles the mind that Garza reportedly received "only" $50m over 4 years w/vesting option for $13m in the 5th.

      Who saw that coming in November?

      There are also reportedly some extras that could bring the 5-year total to $67m -- incentives of some kind, I suppose.
    1. thetank's Avatar
      thetank -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinsnorth49 View Post
      I agree with the sentiment that a bat is likely a better idea than Garza at this point, especially with a 4 year deal. Rome wasn't built in a day and the Twins have made some important, necessary additions to the rotation, time to add a bat and see what shakes off the FA tree next year for some pitching.

      Although if Gibson, Meyer and May progress positively, that might be priority B.
      There are no bats worthwhile on the FA market including Drew. The offense should have had more developed players from the minor leagues.
    1. thetank's Avatar
      thetank -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      That is a little silly Brock, Garza has had his injury issues throughout his career, but we have found out time and time again that he has been an asset worth trading for multiple times. Even if he did lose a year or whatever, there is a good chance he would bounce back the next year and be "tradeable"
      If Garza gets hurt again and bounces back unlikely he will have much trade value without throwing in a bunch of cash. Might depend upon how he was hurt and his bounce back record, but, still...
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      The Twins found out last year that you need to be agressive early on in FA or you will be at the mercy of the market. Garza was banking on the losers of the Tanaka deal and I don't think it quite worked out for him. The problem as I see it is that Garza wasn't going to sign for 4/52 early on in FA as he expected to make more. Nolasco on the other hand thought that was as good a deal as he'd get, so he took it.

      If the Twins decided to hold out for Garza, I'd argue that they:
      1) would have had to pay more than 4/52
      2) would have run the risk of not getting either guy.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      Nolasco on the other hand thought that was as good a deal as he'd get, so he took it.
      I think you are spot on about that. I also don't think anyone else would have given Nolasco any where close to what he got, and as it is shaking out, appears to be way more than the market.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Details on his contract from the AP:
      Garza gets $12.5 million a season, with $2 million annually deferred without interest. The deferred money is payable in four installments each Dec. 15 starting in 2018.
      He can earn an additional $1 million annually in performance bonuses: $500,000 each for 30 starts and 190 innings.
      The deal includes a $13 million option for 2018 that would become guaranteed if he makes 110 starts during the next four years, pitches 155 innings in 2017 and is not on the disabled list at the end of that season.
      Milwaukee has protection against an arm injury in two ways. If he is on the disabled list for 130 or more days during any 183-day period for a right shoulder or elbow injury, or an injury resulting from instability in the shoulder or elbow, Milwaukee gets a $1 million option for 2018. If he has fewer than 90 starts during the next four years, the Brewers have a $5 million option.
      That's a LOT of injury protections. The only way I could see this deal happening is no other team was willing to go that long due to injury concerns and the Brewers needed extensive protections to do it. The AAV is a red flag as well.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
      That's a LOT of injury protections. The only way I could see this deal happening is no other team was willing to go that long due to injury concerns and the Brewers needed extensive protections to do it. The AAV is a red flag as well.
      Those injury clauses are not necessarily a red flag. John Lackey had a very similar clause in his contract about injury time adding a cheap option year, and he was known as one of the more durable pitchers in the game at the time. It's a fantastic clause for teams, and I wonder if it isn't becoming more popular due to contract insurance changes (i.e., if you can't insure the contract as much, add a cheap option year in event of injury).

      All told, I think it's a very solid deal for the Brewers, and the Twins debate shouldn't be whether they should have waited on Nolasco to sign Garza, it should be, why didn't they simply try to sign both? The Twins rotation is improved now but far from perfect, and Garza has better upside/projections than pretty much anybody we have.

      (I do think the Garza reunion was never meant to be, personality-wise, and I also think the Twins never had any intention of signing more than one "big" contract this offseason.)
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      Those injury clauses are not necessarily a red flag.
      The guaranteed option can't be viewed as anywhere near even likely. He's met those requirements exactly one time in his career (2011). At that point, the deal becomes 5/$51M or $55M with incentives worth up to $4M. With the deferred money, the real value is even less.

      Given he was originally projected to get more like 5/$75M or more (without considering these clauses), help me understand how all of that doesn't equate to injury red flags? What caused his market to drop so far?
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
      What caused his market to drop so far?
      I'm not sure you'll get an answer here, too many convinced he got what he deserved. (As in, same as Nolasco)

      On the other hand, I'm as perplexed as you are. This is too good a pitcher for this contract with that many insurance clauses for the Brewers. It's a steal.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      It's a steal.
      I think they actually just priced in a TJ somewhere during the 5 years and it's a pretty fair deal. Figure the elbow gives out mid-season at some point and he misses the rest of that season, part of the next, and rehabs the end of that next season. You're then talking basically 3.5/$51 and pretty darn close to his AAV at the 5/$75 range originally projected.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
      I think they actually just priced in a TJ somewhere during the 5 years and it's a pretty fair deal. Figure the elbow gives out mid-season at some point and he misses the rest of that season, part of the next, and rehabs the end of that next season. You're then talking basically 3.5/$51 and pretty darn close to his AAV at the 5/$75 range originally projected.
      This is my only guess as to why Garza got so little comparatively speaking. On paper, he's a better pitcher than Nolasco. Not infinitely better, but better. And he's a year younger.

      At that point, the only reason I can come up with why he received that contract is "medical records". Something in his history is throwing up red flags, something we don't see as fans.

      There are just too many MLB teams that need quality MLB starters to pass up on Garza so readily, especially when they can get him without draft pick compensation.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
      I think they actually just priced in a TJ somewhere during the 5 years and it's a pretty fair deal. Figure the elbow gives out mid-season at some point and he misses the rest of that season, part of the next, and rehabs the end of that next season. You're then talking basically 3.5/$51 and pretty darn close to his AAV at the 5/$75 range originally projected.
      Could be, but I look at probably the best pitcher on the market (other than the question mark that is Tanaka) and they got him for a better deal than Nolasco and didn't have to give up a draft pick.

      For a free agent signing, I'm not sure you can do much better.
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