Reporting Jeff Riger
I don’t want to speak for anybody reading this blog, so I will just speak for myself, but I think you may agree: I am very underwhelmed in what the Tigers have done this offseason. Detroit, understandably, was not in the running for Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder or even Mark Buehrle, and sure the Tigers could still have a chance for the Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes. It would turn a boring offseason into a sexy one, however I need to see more!
I still find it hard to believe that this team will go to spring training with a platoon situation at 2nd and 3rd base and I still think a proven starting pitcher is also needed which could turn Detroit’s rotation into one of the best in the game. Hence the reason for this blog…
You have to be on vacation or not a baseball fan at all to miss the rumors that Matt Garza is headed to the Motor City. I not only like the idea, I borderline love it! Garza, on a bad Cubs team last year, went 10-and-10 but more importantly had a 3.32 ERA in 31 starts. In six seasons of work, Garza has a career ERA of under four and also has playoff experience with a 2-1 record and a 3 and a half ERA.
Not that I am trying to sell you or anything, but Garza also has pitched in the American League for 5 of his 6 campaigns and he had 197 strikeouts in 198 innings in 2011. Plus the former Twin and Ray is only 28 years old, meaning he is entering the so called “prime” of his career.
And now for the negatives…
Garza is looking at two more seasons of being arbitration eligible before heading into free agency. Also, the Tigers would have to trade for the Selma, California native which means Detroit will have to part with one or more of their prized prospects. Rumor has it that the Cubs are looking for a pretty big package in return for Garza which could mean Jacob Turner or Nick Castellanos or maybe both.
Casey Crosby’s name has also been floating around, a pitcher that Detroit considered one of their best minor leaguers until having to deal with arm problems the last couple seasons. The Yankees, Blue Jays and Red Sox might also be interested in Garza; however word is that New York doesn’t have enough to offer, but Detroit does.
So would you do it?
If it was your decision, would you give up the future to make a run now for the World Series?
And I think the answer is easy… YES!
I know people freak out about prospects and having to give them up even though the majority of fans have never seen them play. For eternity, followers of the Old English D will always think back to John Smoltz being traded for Doyle Alexander in 1987 and because so, people don’t want to trade the youth. I get it, but eventually these people have to move on. Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller were deemed untouchable by the organization until an opportunity came up to get Miguel Cabrera for the pair and more. I think that example alone is enough to get fans to forget about Smoltz. If that doesn’t do it for you, how about the following list?
Andy Van Hekken (remember he complete game shutout the Indians back in 2002)
I could keep going, but it’s hard to remember how to spell some of these names, heck it’s even hard to Google them. But I think I have made my point! All of the above were thought to be the saviors for the Tigers at some point. Detroit was so bad that all the team and the fans had was hopes that some of the above mentioned would work out. They NEVER did! Tigers prospects usually never have! People need to get over the fact that John Smoltz did not spend his fantastic career in a Tigers uniform. What’s to even say that Smoltz would have had the same success in Detroit that he did in Atlanta?
Matt Garza brings a chance for Detroit to sport a top ten rotation in the game. How dominating would Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Matt Garza be at the top of the starting 5 followed by an improving Max Scherzer and young Rick Porcello? The Tigers made it all the way to game 6 of the ALCS last season with a bunch of injured players, very few consistent starters in the playoffs and no bullpen to speak of not named Joaquin Benoit or Jose Valverde. The time is now to make an impact. Worry about prospects and the farm system later and the World Series now! I’m not saying Matt Garza automatically stamps Detroit a ticket to the Fall Classic, but he definitely helps.
Detroit’s off season can not end with just the signing of Octavio Dotel. The team needs to make a bigger splash, a splash that will produce wins and quality outings. I ask you – of the free agents and trade options left – who better fits that description then Garza?