ARLINGTON, Texas – Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels admitted Monday the club paid a steep price to acquire right-hander Matt Garza.
Daniels believes Garza was worth the price in talent going to the Chicago Cubs.
The Rangers acquired the starter for right-hander Justin Grimm, Triple A third baseman Mike Olt, Class A pitcher C.J. Edwards and either one or two players to be named later.
Garza will come to Texas Tuesday and will likely make his Texas debut Wednesday. Daniels thinks Garza can be the pitcher the Rangers need to make a playoff push.
“He’s an extremely talented pitcher that’s had success in the toughest of divisions and the biggest of stages who’s throwing the ball as well as anyone right now,” Daniels said. “It’s a power repertoire with a little bit of a different look from what we’ve got and he was available. That’s a pretty important thing too. In our opinion he was the best guy in the market and we wanted to make a push to get him.”
The Rangers now have the trio of Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Garza for the front end of their rotation. Garza, who didn’t make his 2013 debut until May 21 because of a left lat strain, is 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA in his 11 starts for Chicago.
He’s a pitcher the Rangers have coveted for the last couple of seasons and the team thought he was worth the gamble despite a history of injuries and the fact he’ll be a free agent after the season.
“With him, in addition to all the guys we’ve got 1 through 12, we feel like we’ve put out as strong a staff as arguably we’ve ever had,” Daniels said. “We’re a couple of games back in the race and it’s early in the season. We want to give our club every chance to get into the tournament and see where it goes. That’s our mindset.”
In order to get Garza, the Rangers had to give up Grimm, who was the April rookie of the month in the AL. Olt has struggled in Triple A but is still one of the organization’s top prospects. Edwards is having a breakout season in low A Hickory.
Daniels said it’s tough to give up prospects that high ceilings, but that’s part of the game.
“We had the players to do it,” he said. “The work our scouts and our player development staff and the coaches and trainers, what they’ve done to allow us to put these guys in a deal to get a pitcher of Matt’s caliber can’t be overstated. Not just these few players, but the confidence we’ve got more coming behind them to where we can part with a pretty significant package.”
Garza is 63-63 for his career and 2-1 in the postseason. He’s also been saddled with poor run support, as his 4.53 runs of offense per nine innings are the ninth lowest of active pitchers with at least 1,000 innings pitched.
Texas manager Ron Washington is eager to add Garza to his rotation.
“He’s a big-time pitcher,” Washington said. “We certainly needed it. I think you’ve got commend Jon Daniels and the group the way they worked to try and put this together. They got us what we needed. We needed a tremendous starting pitcher and I think Garza will do good for us and we’re very happy to have him.”
Was the trade a gamble? Sure. But the Rangers had to upgrade a rotation that currently was either going to include Ross Wolf, who lasted three innings in his last start, or Grimm.
That’s a tough way to make the postseason.
“We feel comfortable with the risk we took on,” Daniels said. “There’s always risk in any player. Anybody can have an issue. The way we look at it, the risk was in some of the players that we gave up. We gave up some talent. The Cubs did pretty well.”