Friday, December 30, 2011

Tigers Interested in Garza

When Nick Cafardo recently wrote in the Boston Globe about the Tigers possibly being interested in Cubs right hander Matt Garza, it sounded like speculation to me so I didn't take it too seriously.  There apparently might be something to it though as Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports is now reporting the same thing.  As you might expect, there are several other teams who are interested including the Yankees and Blue Jays.

The 28-year-old Garza posted a 3.32 ERA and impressive 197/63 K/BB ratio in 198 innings last year.  He also finished among the National League's top ten pitchers with a 2.95 FIP and 20 Base Runs Saved.  More importantly, Garza has maintained consistent success since becoming a regular starter averaging 197 innings and a 3.72 ERA over the last four seasons.  Each year, his ERA has been below 4.00. 

Garza's arsenal features a fastball with an average velocity of 93.8.  For comparison purposes, Max Scherzer averages 93.1 MPH.  Garza's second best pitch is his slider and he also throws a curve ball and change up.

Garza is clearly a very solid number two or three starter on a contending team.  The catch is that he is just two years away from free agency and will be costly in terms of prospects.  The Tigers might not have to gut their entire system for two years of Garza as they would have for four years of Gio Gonzalez.  However, the Cubs would likely require Tigers prized righty Jacob Turner as part of the deal. 

Should the Tigers give up Turner for Garza?  One argument is that they would be trading six years of control over Turner for two years of Garza.  On the flip side, Turner may never be as good a Garza already is.  I don't worry too much about years of team control when it comes to pitchers, because they are so fragile and unpredictable, you just don't know where they'll be two years from now.  Never mind six. 

The bigger question for me is, do you want to trade your best prospect trading chip for two years of Garza or do you want to save him for something bigger?  It might depend on what else they can do.  If they are able to acquire Garza and also make an upgrade or two offensively, this would put them in really good position to win it all the next couple of years. Otherwise, they might be better off waiting to see how things look prior to next season's deadline.

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