Matt Garza on playing the Cubs: “I’m going to try to kick their teeth in”

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Matt Garza has some fightin’ words for his former team. The right-hander doesn’t have any real grudge against the Cubs, as he previously stated that he enjoyed playing in Chicago, but vowed to try to “kick their teeth in” every time he’s on the hill for the Brewers against them.

Via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times:

“And I wish them the best,” he said. “But I like where I’m at, and I’m going to try to kick their teeth in every time I get a chance.”

Nothing personal. Mostly.

Garza has only made three starts against former teams. He handled the Twins well, but was shelled by the Rays.

  • vs. Twins (2 starts): 14.0 IP, 4 ER, 15 K, 4 BB, 2 HR
  • vs. Rays (1 start): 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 3 K, 2 BB, 1 HR

As Cubs are an NL Central rival, Garza should make two or three starts against them by the end of the regular season.

The Brewers signed Garza to a four-year, $50 million contract at the end of January. In two and a half seasons with the Cubs and a half-season with the Rangers, Garza posted an aggregate 3.62 ERA with 429 strikeouts in 457 innings. Now 30 years old, the Brewers are hoping Garza can continue pitching well — he has posted an ERA of 3.95 or lower in every single one of his full seasons in the big leagues.

Report: Phillies moving in on a deal with Tommy Hunter

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Update (8:40 PM ET): Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Hunter’s contract with the Phillies is for two years.

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There’s been a bit of confusion at the Winter Meetings. First, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies were close to signing free agent reliever Addison Reed. That report was then disputed by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer then reported that not only do the Phillies not have a deal with Reed, they’re actually moving in on a deal with free agent pitcher Tommy Hunter. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic backed up Gelb’s report, as did Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.

Hunter, 31, spent the past season with the Rays, posting a 2.61 ERA with a 64/14 K/BB ratio across 58 2/3 innings. The right-hander, a veteran of 10 seasons in the majors, should be a good addition to the Phillies’ bullpen, which also recently added Pat Neshek. Neshek and Hunter will likely work the innings just ahead of closer Hector Neris.

As for Reed, well, who knows.