On January 26, 2014, Brewers fans were made aware at the annual Brewers On Deck festival that the Milwaukee Brewers had inked Matt Garza to a 4-year deal worth $50 million with a 5th-year option worth around $13 million. The total contract could amount to 5 years and $67 million.
This signing would be the biggest that the Milwaukee Brewers shelled out to a free agent since the signing of Jeff Suppan, which was for 4-years and $42 million.
Garza was paid to be the Brewers ace. Sadly, he has been far from that prestigious title. In his first season with Milwaukee, the former ALCS MVP who was also known for throwing a no-hitter tallied mediocre numbers for what he was being paid. He posted an ERA of 3.64 and a win-loss record of 8-8. He did strike out 126 batters with only 50 walks. For his efforts in 2014, he earned $12.5 million.
The following season, the Brewers expected some improvement. Garza got even worse in 2015. He posted a record of 6-14 with an ERA of 5.63, and he would earn another $12.5 million. It is at this point the boo birds started in Miller Park.
Finally, in 2016, Garza would put up yet another lackluster year, along with a trip to the disabled list. His ERA of 4.51 and record of 6-8 would help him cash in another $12.5 million. So far he has made a total of $37.5 million with the Milwaukee Brewers while posting a win-loss record of 21-31 with an ERA of 4.49, 315 Ks and 146 walks.
The Brewers are a small market team, and rarely hand out checks of this size to anyone. We all know that signing Matt Garza has not panned out the way anyone would have liked, but he’s back in the rotation this year, and the results have been very strange. Garza is looking dominant since his return from the DL. The only negative aspect is that this is likely his final season in a Brewers uniform. So far in three games pitched, Garza has posted an ERA of 2.55 with 15 strikeouts and only three walks.
Is his success a coincidence, or has he finally found himself and is looking to resurrect his career There has not been any recent chatter about the Brewers looking for a trade partner to take on Garza, but GM David Stearns is working the phones constantly and has to be talking about their second most expensive veteran.
If this success keeps up, should Brewers fans just enjoy it, or should they be suspicious that now the most expensive free agent signing in the club’s history is starting to perform near the end of his tenure in Milwaukee? Our advice is to enjoy the wins and hope that Garza inflates his trade value over the coming months.