Who Should the Red Sox Acquire: Matt Garza

This week, we will take a look at some players that we feel Boston should acquire at the trade deadline. We'll all take a stab at a particular player we want to see playing for the Red Sox during the last two months of the season, as well as our reasons for wanting them in a Boston uni. Agree or disagree in the comments, as us authors don't even necessarily agree with each other on these players.

The Red Sox have a few specific needs they can address at this years trade deadline- they could opt to acquire a right-handed hitting outfielder to correct the terrible production they are getting at that position; they could shop for a shortstop who can best Scutaro with either the bat or the glove or they could add a starting pitcher. With Daisuke Matsuzaka gone for the year, Clay Buchholz without a timetable for return and John Lackey, well, lacking, I think the most pressing need right now is starting pitching. The best solution to that problem is Matt Garza

Sox fans are familiar with the fiery right-hander who broke out with the Cinderella Rays of 2008, but few people seem to be aware that Garza is having his best season right now with the woeful Cubs. With his 4-7 record and very average 3.97 ERA, it is easy to see why people have overlooked him. However, if you look the things Garza that has the most control over, the picture is very different. He has an elite strikeout rate this season, whiffing 9.26 per nine innings and his FIP is just 2.91, over 20% better than the league.

 

Beyond just striking out more hitters, Garza has also been getting more groundballs than ever before. In fact, he is getting a lot more groundballs, approaching 50% grounders this year. Pitchers capable of groundball rates and strikeout rates like that are rare. Only eight players thus far this year have manage strikeout over 7 hitters per nine and get over 50% groundballs. Here they are-

 

Name

Team

IP

K/9

GB% 

BB/9

ERA

FIP

xFIP

Jhoulys Chacin

Rockies

123

7.76

57.60%

3.73

3.37

4.22

3.47

Jaime Garcia

Cardinals

124.1

7.67

54.30%

2.32

3.11

2.89

3.11

Ricky Romero

Blue Jays

127.1

7.63

52.40%

3.39

3.18

3.87

3.63

Jonathon Niese

Mets

118

7.47

52.30%

2.75

3.58

3.31

3.31

Cole Hamels

Phillies

136.1

8.19

52.20%

1.85

2.71

2.59

2.85

Roy Halladay

Phillies

147.1

8.49

51.90%

1.1

2.57

2.28

2.54

Tim Lincecum

Giants

129.1

9.67

50.60%

3.34

2.99

2.7

2.94

Jon Lester

Red Sox

114.1

8.66

50.50%

3.15

3.31

3.94

3.46

Matt Garza

Cubs

102

9.26

49.80%

3.18

3.97

2.91

2.96

 

Not a bad group, right?

The real question is not whether Boston should try to acquire Garza, but how much should they pay. Garza is entering his final arbitration year, so he is more than a simple rental. The Cubs are saying they want to keep him, but this is likely just posturing, since the team will need a major overhaul to be competitive in 2012. Garza is making $5.95M total this year, so his salary is far less of a concern that a Wandy Rodriquez or an Edwin Jackson. The cost here will be in minor league talent. In that respect, Garza could become too expensive quickly.

However, Jim Hendry has struggled mightily when making deals and with Ubaldo Jimenez being shopped he loses the leverage to bring in a massive prospect package. What’s more, he is obviously on the hot seat, right now. The pressure of fighting for his job might negatively impact Hendry at the deadline. To top it all off, injury concerns could even help push the price down more. Theo has every advantage in dealing with Hendry and might be able to lose very little in a trade.  Even if Garza does cost us one top prospect, like Ryan Lavarnway, Will Middlebrooks or Korbin Vitek, it will not significantly diminish the farm system, since Boston has continuously drafted and developed players well.

In the short-term, however, the move would be huge. Should Lester and Buchholz both return at full strength, the addition of Garza would push John Lackey all the way down to the fifth starter role. It would give us the ability to move Miller into the LOOGY role and minimize the starts Aceves and Wake would be required to make from here out. Our 2012 rotation would benefit as well, allowing Ranaudo and some of our other top prospects more time to develop. Most importantly, our playoff rotation would be absolutely elite. With baseball’s best offense backing them up, a Beckett-Lester-Buchholz-Garza staff would be a match for any contender we have to face.

After all, flags fly forever.

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