Brewers, RHP Garza officially agree on contract

By The Sports Xchange
POSTED: 02:30 PM MST Jan 26, 2014    UPDATED: 02:30 PM MST Jan 26, 2014 

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers officially announced on Sunday they have reached an agreement with free agent right-handed pitcher Matt Garza on a four-year contract.

Team owner Mark Attanasio made the announcement during Brewers On Deck, the Brewers' annual winter fan festival.

"We've been in contact with the Brewers for quite some time and it was just kind of the right fit," Garza said. "It wasn't a surprise, I expected an open market and I'm happy to be with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The contract, for a reported four-years and $52 million, would be the largest free agent deal in franchise history.

Garza was asked about his new team's players.

"I've pitched against them, I know what they can bring," he said. "I know what type a threat a healthy (Ryan) Braun and a healthy (Aramis) Ramirez is. It's going to be an exciting year for us. We've got a great rotation, we'll have a solid bullpen and I think we'll put up runs."

News of the signing was first reported last Thursday, but the team later in the day denied the deal was final.

Garza spent time on the disabled list in each of the past three seasons, including six weeks in 2013 with a rib-cage strain. In 2011 and 2012, he missed starts with elbow issues.

Garza, 30, was the top starting pitcher left on the market after Masahiro Tanaka signed with the New York Yankees last Wednesday.

The right-hander was 10-6 with a 3.82 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 155 1/3 innings last season with the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers over 24 total starts.

Garza owns a 67-67 record and 3.84 ERA over parts of eight years in the major leagues.

Garza was originally a first-round pick of the Minnesota Twins in the 2005 draft and was promoted to the major leagues the following season.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke is pleased with the addition to his starting rotation.

"I know the last two years, he hasn't been able to but certainly, he's a guy that, when he's healthy, he usually goes deep into a game," Roenicke said. "We need to keep him healthy and get those innings from him."

Roenicke said adding Garza should take some pressure off of the other starters.

"They're not going to look at it that way but yeah, it gives us more depth," Roenicke said. "During the season, you use more than five starters so they're going to get their chance."

Attanasio, who denied that the delayed agreement was orchestrated to coincide with the fan event, praised his team's new pitcher.

"This guy is one of the (best) -- there was an article recently that profiled on different bases the top 25 pitchers in baseball," Attanasio said. "You look at all these different metrics, and (Garza) routinely grades out as (one of those pitchers).

"So I'd rather talk about his upside, what he brings in terms of performance to the staff, and also what he brings in leadership. This guy really cares about winning, and I think he's going to bring that attitude, which we're looking for."