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The Price for Matt Garza is Worth It

By Mike Silva ~ January 2nd, 2012. Filed under: New York Yankees.

Although no clear favorite has emerged in acquiring Cubs RHP Matt Garza,  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports the Yankees, Blue Jays, Tigers, Red Sox and Marlins are all in the mix. I believe if the Yankees want Garza there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to make a deal.

Although Garza isn’t Felix Hernandez, he’s probably the best pitcher available via trade this offseason. Garza had an outstanding year for the Cubs in 2011 despite a 10-10 record. Any pitcher that strikes out a batter per inning, with less than 3 BB/9 deserves a better fate. His move to the National League reduced his ERA by more than a half a run, and he was even stingier in the second half of the season with a 2.45 ERA. Garza is going to be 28 years old next year and I believe is poised to break out and become a potential ace. His track record in the AL East should make Brian Cashman comfortable that he isn’t acquiring the next A.J. Burnett or Carl Pavano. I even advocated Sandy Alderson making a run at Garza earlier this offseason.

Reports are the Cubs looking for (what else) young pitching to replenish their farm system. The Yankees have an abundance of it, and both Cashman and Theo Epstein have a good relationship. I doubt you would get the unreasonable requests that you’ve seen with Kenny Williams, Jack Zduriencik, or Billy Beane. With that said, acquiring Garza won’t be cheap, especially with the rich packages fetched for Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez.

I am thinking one Killer B (probably Dellin Betances), one of David Phelps or Adam Warren, and perhaps a positional prospect like Austin Romine. This is a rich, but very fair package. I do wonder if Epstein would ask for a third pitcher pitcher more major league ready (Phil Hughes), but I doubt the Yankees would bite; and those goes for Jesus Montero or Gary Sanchez as well.

Assuming the package is along the reasonable side, do you make this deal? I say yes. I think the one prospect that would hurt to give up is Betances, but it’s no secret the Banuelos is ranked higher by the Yankees brass, and Betances wildness makes you wonder if he is destined to become another mediocre wild hard thrower. Those guys are a dime a dozen.

Financially, the Yankees would control Garza for the next two years as he isn’t a free agent until 2014. With Burnett coming off the books after the 2013 season there will be some extra money to lock him up long-term. Garza does have a reputation for being a bit difficult. One former Tampa catcher told a story of how he would sometimes change his pitch selection while in the windup. With a veteran catcher like Russell Martin and pitching coach like Larry Rothschild this shouldn’t be as much of an issue in New York.  Remember, Yankee pinstripes have a way of straightening players out. I also trust the brass has looked into Garza’s makeup before they pull a trigger on a deal.

Before you cry over Betances, Warren, or even a Phelps, in a best case scenario are they going to be as good as Garza? Maybe. Better? Who knows, but if they are it probably would take 2-3 years in either scenario. By that time CC Sabathia is in his late prime, Jeter is retired, and who knows what kind of player A-Rod is. You have to be careful with your prospects, especially with the new draft rules, but you can’t hug them too hard if you want to win in the present.

The Yankees have to decide what pitcher is worth spending their surplus pitching prospects on. Felix Hernandez appears to be a pipe dream. Their new internal budget constraints make it unlikely they will pursue a Cole Hamels or Matt Cain next offseason. Furthermore, who knows if either makes it to free agency. Matt Garza appears to be the best choice on the field and for their pocketbook.

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12 Responses to The Price for Matt Garza is Worth It

  1. Desmond wasnaski

    Keep hearing about the yanks new budget stance. I have to wonder if this, in conjunction with the sox similar stance will force a drop in league wide player compensation moving. Taking the two richest franchises out of the negotiation can’t help players long term. With that said- maybe this is a good thing. Thoughts?

  2. Stu B

    @Desmond: Good for whom? Not the players, but maybe the owners. There are several constituencies involved.

    @Mike: I agree with you about Betances, Warren, and Phelps. It should also be remembered that with Sabathia, Hughes, and (assuming) Garza for the next few years, there won’t be room in the rotation for many of their prospects.

  3. Joseph DelGrippo

    I would include Hughes in a heartbeat to get Garza.

  4. Brien Jackson

    “It should also be remembered that with Sabathia, Hughes, and (assuming) Garza for the next few years, there won’t be room in the rotation for many of their prospects.”

    I’m not entirely sure why people are so concerned about this. If there’s no room for the prospects because there are already *better pitchers* in those spots, how is this supposed to be a problem?

    People have gotten too obsessed with prospects just for the sake of it.

  5. Stu B

    I didn’t say it would be a problem, Brien. The point is that there will be limited roles available for these prospects, so maybe it’s not such a bad idea to trade one or more of them in the right deal.

  6. Brien Jackson

    Ah, I get ya. I guess I’ve seen so many “they can’t do that because then Phelps/Warren/Mitchell will be blocked” that I instinctively read it into every comment like yours.

  7. Ken Bland

    I’d be inclined to think the Yankees are not a favored trading partner here. Even beyond Kyle Drabek, who has maybe lost a little shine in failing to execute at the big league level since the Halladay trade, but still figures to be attractive, the Jays still didn’t give up much pitching depth in the Frasor deal, and are at least said to be pretty rich in that area. Theo and Brian may have a good relationship as adversaries from days gone by, but I doubt the new Cubs administration is anxious to do the Yanks any favors on deal one. The Yanks would have to WAY overpay to entice a deal. It’s noit like Garza HAS to be dealt.

  8. Anonymous

    Maybe the Mets are interested in Garza…but I think they need to be able to rub two cents together first..

  9. Stink stank

    It’s time to get with the program. This is your pitching staff and frankly, what’s so bad about the status quo when supported by a top 5 farm system? Manny, Dellin, Noesi, Warren and phelps with more right behind….all are ready or close to break in. Please…no 2008 reminders…that team had no cc or nova and no fallback plan should failure ensue. It did and they paid the price. If you can say anything about this staff…there certainly is backup. So enough with the trades and ejax talk. Do you really want to give up a B+ for another head case with questionable makeup? Do you really want to give another 50m for an AJ in the making? Please…let’s get off the upgrade mentality and focus on what we have up and coming. 7 weeks to Ps&Cs baby!

  10. Juke Early

    I agree with Mike’s assessment. Regardless, if the 2012-13 off season is another in which the Yankees get jock-blocked† from making a meaningful trade or signing [i.e. Cole Hamels]**, I hope the world does end on 12.21.21.*

    *NOTE: since I rarely get what I want, I have likely just saved the world ;-)

    ** ©2011 Jukeofurl Prod

  11. Stu B

    @Juke Early: What does jock-blocked mean? And 12/21/21 is almost 10 years away - I haven’t seen any predictions about that date. More people are focused on 12/21/12.

  12. Steve S.

    The Cubs will certainly want young pitching, they’re not even sure who will be filling out their staff next year. They don’t need relievers, and some feel that Betances is destined for the bullpen. They have Geovanny Soto so they don’t need a Catcher, unless its for trade purposes. They need a 1B and 3B with Pena and Ramirez leaving via FA.

    I love a Mike but if I’m Theo, I don’t make your deal. I need either Montero for 1B or Manny Banny for my rotation. With the Tigers putting Jacob Turner in a deal, the Yanks will have to include one of their top two prospects in order to land Garza.

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