MLB Rumors: Diamondbacks' Failure to Get Matt Garza Is Big Mistake
The MLB trade deadline was incredibly important for all three contenders in the National League West. The Los Angeles Dodgers made strides forward. The San Francisco Giants made strides forward. The Arizona Diamondbacks stood in place.
The three-horse race has officially been narrowed down to two.
Before you jump to the conclusion that Kevin Towers and the Diamondbacks simply didn't feel the need to improve, know that they did, in fact, want to acquire a difference-maker at the deadline (via ESPN's Buster Olney):
Diamondbacks were grinding away at Matt Garza deal, came close, but didn't get it done.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 31, 2012
Let's see here. The Dodgers traded for Hanley Ramirez, a former MVP runner-up, and Shane Victorino, a three-time Gold Glover with a solid bat. The Giants traded for Hunter Pence, a power-hitting outfielder who can also hit for average.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, who sit just 3.5 games behind both L.A. and San Francisco, traded for Scott Podsednik and Matt Albers.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out the winners and losers from those deals.
Now, Matt Garza might not be as sexy of a name as Hanley, Pence or the Flyin' Hawaiian, but he would have been the perfect fit for the D-Backs.
Where will Arizona finish in the NL West?
Arizona's starting pitchers have an average ERA of 4.26, which is 14th in the National League. If the Diamondbacks are going to make a playoff push, a legitimate starting pitcher needed to be priority No. 1.
And Garza is more than legitimate.
His ERA, at 3.91, is where it has been his whole career, but at the age of 28, he's finally gaining the necessary control to keep hitters off balance. Garza's WHIP (1.177) and BB/9 (2.8) are at a career low, and his SO/9 ratio is far exceeding his career average.
Garza gets a lot of criticism, but he is at the peak of his career right now, and those numbers, for what it's worth, except for the BB/9, would rank first on Arizona's starting pitching staff.
It's not like there isn't talent on the mound in Arizona, because there definitely is. Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill and Josh Collmenter all have high ceilings, while Wade Miley and Joe Saunders have have ERAs under 3.00.
But the go-to guy isn't there. The ace. The player who, when you need a win, you know will give seven or eight very strong innings.
Matt Garza could have been that guy. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.
What would have made this potential deal even more attractive is that the D-Backs wouldn't have had to give up prized outfielder Justin Upton (via ESPN's Jim Bowden):
Matt Garza deal to Diamondbacks will not include Upton if they can come to an agreement according to a source— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 31, 2012
They would have had to give up prospects, sure, but for a team that made the playoffs last season, the goal should be to win right now. Trading for Matt Garza would have only helped Arizona to take strides toward that goal, but it's all for naught.
The trade didn't happen, and to make things worse, the trades for L.A. and San Francisco did happen.
It's hard to blame missing the playoffs on an entire week or day, but if Arizona falters down the stretch, this might be the day to come back to.
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