Matt Garza signed a four-year $50 million deal with the Brewers prior to the 2014 season, pairing him with Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, Marco Estrada, and Wily Peralta in what would be a favorable rotation.
2014 was a good year for Garza with the Brewers. He posted a 3.64 earned run average to go with a 8-8 win-loss record and 126 strikeouts over 163.1 innings of work.
Oh, what a difference a year can make.
2015 was the worst year of Matt Garza‘s career. He went 6-14, posting an alarming 5.63 earned run average over 148.2 innings of work. He and Kyle Lohse combined to be two of baseball’s worst pitchers, which is a key reason why the Brewers are rebuilding now.
Marco Estrada, Yovani Gallardo, and Kyle Lohse are all gone, leaving the Brewers with Wily Peralta, who is under team control until 2018. Matt Garza is also going to a Brewer until 2017 or 2018, so let’s break down the remainder of his deal with the Brewers.
Garza has so far made half of the $50 million the Brewers signed him to at $25 million, and Garza is scheduled to make $12.5 million in 2016 and 2017. His 2018 dollar amount and entire 2018 situation is the interesting part here, however.
Garza has a $13 million vesting option for 2018 that could dip all the way down to $1 million. Here’s how this can happen:
Matt Garza has to meet these three things by the end of the 2017 regular season. 1: He has to start 110 games (52 starts have been made so far) 2: He can’t be on the disabled list at the end of the 2017 season, and 3: He has to pitch at least 115 innings in 2017.
If all three of those are not met, which he isn’t on pace to do, Garza’s vesting option for the 2018 season turns into a $5 million team option for the season. The option dips to $1 million if he goes on the disabled list for more than 130 days in a year.
Garza will own a $500,000 thousand bonus if he starts at least 30 games or pitches 190 innings annually. Garza has so far made $0. His total incentives will add up to $4 million.
Garza is a very anxious to turn things around for the Brewers in 2016 after a disastrous 2015:
“Get back to being me. Stop trying to be someone, stop trying to please people and just go out there and be me,” Garza said. “I’ve been trying to please people to stay places and it’s just the point in my career where I’m over it. As long as I keep playing, that’s all I’m worried about now. I need to keep playing.
Garza is the oldest member of the Brewers starting rotation, so if that is any indication, he could be the Brewers Opening Day starter. I’d expect to Craig Counsell to favor someone like Jimmy Nelson or Taylor Jungmann first though.
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