A source tells Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse that the Rays are “motivated” to trade Matt Garza.
We have already heard Garza connected to the Brewers and Nationals, but according to Price, the Rangers view him as a fallback if they are unable to sign Cliff Lee or acquire Zack Greinke.
Garza, 27, has thrived since being acquired from the Twins in November of 2007, posting a 3.86 ERA over 95 games (94 starts) with the Rays. He went 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 2010 and has topped 200 innings pitched in each of the past two seasons. Garza remains under team control through 2013, but is due a hefty raise in the arbitration process from the $3.35 million he made this past season.
In a perfect world, the Rays would probably prefer to deal James Shields, but they stand to get more in return for Garza, especially as they attempt to to bolster their lineup and reconstruct their bullpen. If Garza is ultimately dealt, the club would slide Jeremy Hellickson into their starting rotation. Hellickson, who turns 24 next April, went 4-0 with a 3.47 ERA and 33/8 K/BB ratio over 10 appearances (four starts) with the Rays this past season. He looks ready for primetime.
The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.
Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.
While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.