Having already signed a trio of free agent starting pitchers, it seems as though the Minnesota Twins may not be done with their offseason shopping as the team is once again “kicking the tires” on right-hander Matt Garza. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN relayed the news, suggesting that the team is more willing to spend big dollars rather than extend themselves with a long term deal.
Word from MLB contact: #MNTwins again kicking tires on Garza. Willing to pay high $. But same concern as before: don’t want to do big years.
— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) January 2, 2014
Minnesota’s interest in Garza is somewhat surprising, given the team’s activities already this winter. The team has already committed a total of $84 Million in payroll to their pitching staff – signing Ricky Nolasco (four years, $49 Million), Phil Hughes (three years, $24 Million), and Mike Pelfrey (two years, $11 Million). Garza would represent the last piece in what would amount to a total overhaul of the team’s rotation, but his signing would also suggest that the Twins are not confident in their remaining options for the rotation – an interesting mix of arms that could potentially include Kevin Correia, Vance Worley, Sam Deduno, and others with the potential of youngsters Kyle Gibson, Sean Gilmartin, and Alex Meyer working their way into the mix by midseason.
Garza is coming off a relatively solid season in 2013 in which he posted a 3.82 ERA and 1.236 WHIP over 155.1 IP. He’d split the season between the NL and AL, however, seeing much better results before the Chicago Cubs dealt him to the Texas Rangers in late July.
There’s been little activity on the free agent market thus far for the now 30 year old, however, as Garza has been faced with some uncertainty thanks to teams looking to wait until Masahiro Tanaka has signed. Garza, Ervin Santana, Bronson Arroyo, and a handful of other arms remain without contracts for the upcoming season and there’s no certainty that they’ll find work in the immediate future. Garza began his career with the Twins (pitching for the team in the 2006 and 2007 seasons before a trade took him to Tampa Bay) and while he’d be the most logical fit with the team from among the remaining options, it’s tough to see how he’d be anything more than a luxury for a team that’s already addressed a need.