Free Agent Forecast: Matt Garza
At just 30 years old, Matt Garza has already pitched for four teams and is busy looking for a fifth. The California native is consistently solid, and sports a career 3.84 ERA. When healthy, he's good for 10-15 wins and can strikeout his fare share of hitters. Although he's not an ace by any means, he's a solid, middle-of-the-rotation guy and will have no trouble finding work this offseason for that reason. His best season came in 2011 on a bad Chicago Cubs team. He won only 10 games, but had a 3.32 ERA and had 197 strikeouts in 198 innings pitched.
The Yankees' interest in Garza is almost 100% predicated on whether or not they can bring Tanaka over from Japan. For that reason, it's possible that Garza is swooped up by a team desperate for good starting pitching (like the Orioles or Mets) before the Yankees have a chance to call on him as a backup plan. If they do strikeout on Tanaka, though, and Garza is still on the market, he would make a lot of sense in the Bronx. He's proven he can win in the AL East with the Rays, and he would provide a sure thing in the rotation -- something the Yankees badly need.
Garza is a lucky man, because there is always going to be a market for good starting pitching. As a result, he will likely get one of the largest contracts of any free agent starter this offseason. While Garza has a solid track record, he also doesn't have a draft pick attached to him because of his midseason trade in 2013, making the 30-year-old a valuable commodity. I expect Garza to get a five-year, $65 million contract from a team like the Orioles -- but not the Yankees.