Matt Garza and Milwaukee Brewers Officially Agree on Contract

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2014

Updates for Sunday, Jan. 26

Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the latest on Matt Garza's talks with the Brewers from owner Mark Attanasio and general manager Doug Melvin:

 Adam McCalvy of MLB.com had more on Garza's deal:

 

---Original Text---

Despite previous reports, Matt Garza has not officially agreed to a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, the team announced:

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported on Jan. 26 that contract negotiations were still being held between the Brewers and Garza:

Adam McCalvy of MLB.com previously provided an idea of why there is currently a snag in the negotiations: 

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports initially reported that the coveted free-agent starting pitcher and the Brewers reached an agreement on a four-year, $52 million contract.   

Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel talked about Garza's past health issues:

Garza split the 2013 MLB season between the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers, who acquired him in July with hopes he could put them over the top in the playoff race. Instead, he sputtered down the stretch with a 4.38 ERA in 13 starts and Texas missed the postseason after losing the tiebreaker game.

He pitched better with the Cubs, posting a 3.17 ERA over 11 starts. It's that type of upside, which he's flashed throughout his career, and the lack of quality free-agent options that made him one of the most intriguing players on the open market.

At 30 years old, he's either going to turn the corner and become the ace every team he's played for has seen for small stretches, or he's going to remain a boom-or-bust option with an ERA around 4.00.

Garza had his best season in 2011 with the Cubs. The two biggest factors in that improved performance were an improved strikeout rate and limiting home runs, an issue that has plagued him throughout his career.

Those two stats will be the telltale signs early next season to see what direction his season is trending. A high strikeout rate and low homer rate would very likely equate to a good free-agent investment for the Brewers.

That said, Garza's past inconsistency didn't stop him from becoming a popular target because there was a severe lack of options available. He hit the market at the perfect time, which left pitching-needy teams with little choice but to pursue him.

Moving forward, that's something that should be kept in mind. He might not be an elite starting pitcher overall, but he was one of the best available free agents, which helped him secure a big-dollar deal.

Whether he lives up to that top billing is a major question mark. He's done it at times throughout his career, but rarely on a start-to-start basis. Maybe as he hits the middle of his prime, he'll be ready to take that next step forward.

That's what the Brewers are hoping for anyway as they look to complete the deal.

 

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