Matt Garza trade hasn’t paid off (yet) for the Rangers

11 Comments

Texas gave up a strong four-player package to get Matt Garza from Chicago on July 22, paying a premium to pick up the impending free agent for less than half of a season.

When injuries later wrecked the Rangers’ rotation the decision to add Garza looked even more important, but his actual performance since the trade has been lacking. Garza lasted just four innings in a loss to the Pirates yesterday and is now 3-4 with a 4.46 ERA in 10 starts for the Rangers.

He’s posted a strong 63/17 K/BB ratio in 67 innings, but Garza has also served up 10 homers and has allowed at least four runs in six of his last eight starts. Here’s what manager Ron Washington told Todd Willis of ESPN Dallas about what he’s seen from Garza so far:

This guy is a good pitcher. Things haven’t been going the way we would’ve liked for them to go, totally, but the bottom line is when the pitcher takes the mound it’s his job is to keep you in the ballgame. Although he hasn’t been winning ballgames at a rate you think he will, he’s still been keeping us in ballgames.

Not exactly that the Rangers paid for. Of course, if the Rangers make the playoffs and Garza comes through with a couple impressive starts what he did in the regular season will become a distant memory. However, his struggles could lead to Texas missing the playoffs and without knowing what will happen in the future the trade certainly isn’t looking like a good one right now.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.