In a bit of news that might fall on multiple sides of an opinion, over the weekend it was announced that Matt Garza had rejected an offer from the Twins before signing with the Brewers. We knew that Minnesota was interested in Garza, and we knew that they were willing to do something over fewer years but not more years, but that was about as specific as the news would get.
Jerry Crasnick had it first.
Heard today that #twins offered Matt Garza a 3 yr, $42 million deal before he signed with #brewers.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) February 22, 2014
Three years and $42 million, and allegedly a fourth year on a vesting option, was offered in late January to Minnesota's first-round selection from 2005.
#mntwins offer to Matt Garza included a 4th-year vesting option at $14M. So max value was $56 million, PWDK tells me. Signed 4-$50M w/MIL— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) February 22, 2014
It sounds like Milwaukee was willing to go an extra year on both the guarantee and the option, and that may have been the kicker. Darren Wolfson offers some insight into the Brewer contract:
Garza signed a four-year, $50 million contact with Milwaukee on Jan. 27. The Brewers also included a vesting option for a fifth year. That deal includes a $13 million option for 2018 that would become guaranteed if he makes 110 starts during the next four years, pitches 155 innings in 2017 and is not on the disabled list at the end of that season.
Signing Garza, as we discussed early in January, would have more or less ended any competition for the starting rotation as he'd have joined Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey, and Kevin Correia. It also would have sent a message that would have been impossible to misinterpret: we really don't like our internal options. And it would be impossible to disagree with the sentiment.
Regarding Minnesota's actual offer: it's interesting. In some sense it's simply good to know that the front office was being as aggressive as advertised, and in some sense it's interesting just to know that negotiations had progressed to the point where numbers had been exchanged instead of vague parameters during a handful of discussions.
I also tend to lean towards believing that the Twins were smart in not offering Garza that extra year. Getting better for 2014 is an absolute necessity, but if there's a long-term plan (and there is) then it's also important to not go too far outside of that blueprint. Beyond the need to find places for both Kyle Gibson and, hopefully, Alex Meyer at some point in the summer, it's worth knowing that Garza isn't so good that he's worth blowing up the plan.
Minnesota's offer to Garza was certainly fair, and in an off-season where a lot of heads have been called for you have to respect a front office that's willing to stick to its guns - because you know that the immediate response to the Garza signing, by the masses, would have been overwhelmingly positive. If they're turning down that level of immediate gratification for the good of the long-term plan, then they must fully believe in what they're trying to do.