After an offseason that was at times frustratingly slow, the Milwaukee Brewers closed out January with a bang by announcing the signing of pitcher Matt Garza today.
This comes on the heels of the signings of first basemen Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay to compensate for the loss of Corey Hart.
I am extremely happy about the moves the Brewers made this offseason. When the news came out that the Brewers were looking at trading for Ike Davis (first basemen for the New York Mets) I was excited because I think he has the potential to be one of the best players in the game in the coming years. When the deal fell through I was a little skeptical because I thought it signified that the Brewers management was going to get cheap with offseason signings.
However, those fears were assuaged when the Brewers picked up both Reynolds and Overbay. Reynolds and Overbay (with Sean Halton) will be able to provide consistent production at first at a perfect cost.
Last year Overbay hit 14 home runs with a .295 on base percentage. Mark Reynolds played for Cleveland and the New York Yankees last season and hit 25 homeruns. They are both relatively old (Overbay is 36, Reynolds is 30) but in my opinion they were the perfect choices at first.
There may have been better options (IKE DAVIS!!!) but the signings of Overbay and Reynolds allowed the Brewers to do two things: Hang on to Thornburg (whom the Mets wanted in exchange for Davis), and sign Garza. Had the Brewers splurged for a first baseman, they may not have been willing to put up the cash for a big name pitcher.
In my opinion the Brewers pitching staff (and assorted injuries/suspensions) were the main reasons for the Brewers struggles last year. Outside of Yovani Gallardo and Kyle Lohse, the pitching staff was inconsistent in its play last year.
Garza can be a game-changing pitcher when healthy. In 2010 he went 15-10 with a 1.25 whip. He played on a pretty good Tampa Bay team during his peak years, but he also played on some terrible Chicago Cubs teams and he played for the Minnesota Twins at the start of his career so I wouldn’t read that much into his win/loss totals (67-67 over his 8 seasons in the MLB.) but his other career stats have been very impressive (maybe not deserving of a four year $50 million contract, but good none the less.)
Before he was traded last year to Texas Garza was on fire in Chicago, with a career low 3.17 ERA and a 6-1 record.
If Garza can play like he was before being traded to Texas for the Brewers next season I legitimately think that the Brewers will have an outside chance at the wild card. Milwaukee is filled with young talent that got real experience last year (Khris Davis, Wily Peralta, Jean Segura, and Scooter Gannett are some names that come to mind) and they should only get better this season.
I’m a fan of the moves the Brewers have made this offseason, agree? Disagree? Post your opinion below.