Nearly every big bat has found a home this offseason, but there are still plenty of arms on the market. One of those hurlers who is available is Matt Garza, and CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman says the Arizona Diamondbacks are one of the few teams interested in the 30-year-old righty. Heyman also tweeted the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are in the running as well.
The Diamondbacks made a three-way trade this week with the Angels and Chicago White Sox, sending 25-year-old outfielder Adam Eaton to Chicago and 22-year-old southpaw Tyler Skaggs back to the Angels. The team received Mark Trumbo in return. Certainly, having two big boppers in Trumbo and Paul Goldschmidt sounds impressive, but the D-Backs need to address pitching. They had a 3.92 team ERA in 2013, 6th worst among NL teams.
For a while, the team was cruising, but a remarkable mid-season surge by the Los Angeles Dodgers knocked them into second place. A tweet by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal said the Diamondbacks could trade for a starting pitcher, and have to flip one of their own youngsters, such as Trevor Cahill or Randall Delgado.
Garza showed himself to be a prize at this year’s trading deadline. While with the Chicago Cubs, he went 6-1 with a 125 ERA+ and 1.141 WHIP. Certainly such numbers would catch the attention of a contender, which is why the Texas Rangers picked him up. The only problem is his performance in Chicago didn’t transition well to Texas. Garza found himself with an ERA+ of 94 and WHIP of 1.316. Not to mention, the Rangers missed the postseason by losing a one game playoff to Garza’s old squad, the Tampa Bay Rays.
Still, it may be worth it for Kevin Towers to make a move on him. Despite not always having some seasons better than others, Garza is more proven than other young pitchers the Diamondbacks have had in recent years. Many good things were said about Trevor Bauer and in the small sample size he had in the desert, he didn’t impress. He again spent some time in the big leagues in 2013 with the Cleveland Indians, only for him to be sent back down again.
The potential is there with Tyler Skaggs. For some pitchers, it may take longer to develop. Skaggs is only 22, but that potential didn’t quite show while with this club. In 38.2 inning pitched in 2013, Skaggs had a 75 ERA+ and 1.371 WHIP, and neither statistic was much better than he showed in 2012.
Delgado got more innings and showed a better WHIP than either of them. Still, he wasn’t overly impressive with his numbers either. As far as Cahill goes, he did make the All-Star team while with the Oakland Athletics in 2010 and finished 9th in AL Cy Young balloting. However, he has yet to capitalize on that 2010 season and go from there in the senior circuit. Cahill is durable and can get a team 200 innings, but he led all of baseball with 17 wild pitches this past season, which suggests he may need to work on his command.
The most interesting pitcher they have is Patrick Corbin. His first half of the season showed him to be a serious Cy Young contender, and his performance earned him a trip to Citi Field for the Midsummer Classic, but he showed second half struggles. Still, Corbin and Goldschmidt were the leaders of this club in 2013 and are hoping they can keep on being those building blocks for their squad.
As for Garza himself, if one can’t beat him, why not get him? In four career starts against the Diamondbacks, Garza is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA and his WHIP of 0.897 against them is the lowest he has against any other team. His career numbers at Chase Field are 1-1, 3.60 and 0.933 WHIP. That’s not too bad.
If this team wants to get back to the postseason, Garza is worth the shot. Granted, they do want to be careful, because Garza’s performance in the 2008 ALDS and 2008 World Series left a lot to be desired, but he was named MVP of the 2008 ALCS and pitched rather well in the 2010 ALDS.
Surely the D-Backs want to go up since they finished at 81-81 in 2012 and 2013 after being a win away from the NLCS in 2011. The good news though is have shown they can be in the mix of things. Garza seems like a gamble, but one that can definitely pay dividens and help get them back to the postseason.