Our ranking of the Top 50 Milwaukee Brewers of the 2010s marches on as we reach No. 40 on the countdown.
It’s time for a big free agency pitcher signing that quiet didn’t pan out at No. 40 on our top Milwaukee Brewers of the decade list.
How We Ranked Them
We created an initial list of the top players by combining their Fangraphs Total WAR from each year they were on the Brewers and ranking them from highest to lowest.
However, this wasn’t going to be list of simply who had the highest WAR while they were here and that’s it. So we adjusted the list based on postseason contributions, overall quality of player, and general importance to the franchise.
Our list continues.
40. RHP Matt Garza
Garza was an established starter by the time he got to Milwaukee in 2014. He had four seasons of 10 wins or more on his resume, was the 2008 American League Championship Series MVP, pitched in a World Series, and brought another veteran pitcher to the Brewers rotation.
At age 30, the Brewers hoped Garza could live up to his reputation and be the ace of the staff. Let’s look at his Brewers WAR between 2014-2017
2014: 2.1 WAR
Total WAR: 3.9
During the 2014 offseason, Garza signed a four year, $50 million deal with the Brewers. The Crew needed Garza to live up to his career statistics when they brought him in.
Between 2006-2013, Garza was a 67-67 pitcher but owned a 3.84 earned run average in 194 career games. From 2010-2013, Garza was starting to look like a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. He won 15 games in his last year with Tampa Bay, and was a combined 40-33 with a 3.71 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.
When he got to Milwaukee though, the 30 year old Garza had already put a lot of miles on his arm, with more that 1,182 innings thrown in the major leagues.
2014 will go down as his best season in Milwaukee, going 8-8 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.182 WHIP, all in line with his career averages.
In 2015 Garza began to feel the impact of all those innings on his arms, and his performance was so bad that he was shut down for the rest of the season, which didn’t sit well with him, as he didn’t pitch the last month of the season. His 14 losses was a career high and 5.63 ERA was the worst since his first year in the majors. 2016 didn’t go much better, going 6-8, 4.51 ERA and spent time in Single-A on a rehab assignment.
During the 2017 season Garza suffered a shoulder injury in a collision with Jesus Aguilar. He threw the rest of the year but had lost his rotation spot and ended his final year of the contract at 6-9 and had a 4.94 ERA.
However after years of use early in his career took a toll on him as he would retire at the end of the 2017 season at age 33. During his tenure with the Brewers, Garza went 26-39 with a 4.65 ERA in 96 career games.
The Milwaukee Brewers haven’t had much success with free agent starting pitchers in the past and Garza is the most recent example. But he did enough to land at No. 40 on our list.