If the Yankees are unable to land Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka this offseason, the team could turn to free agent pitcher Matt Garza to fill voids in their rotation. Garza is no stranger to the AL East after spending time with the Tampa Bay Rays before being traded to the Chicago Cubs, which could be attractive for teams who feel like the environment is a concern. Doug Williams of the YES Network thinks that Garza might be a good place to turn for insurance in case the Yankees are somehow out-bid for Tanaka's services when he posts.
With Phil Hughes signing with the Minnesota Twins, Andy Pettitte retiring, and Hiroki Kuroda's future still very much up in the air, the Yankees are left with CC Sabathia coming off an awful year with no guarantee of a bounce back, Ivan Nova who turned a demotion early in the year into a fantastic second half, and a conglomeration of maybes and wild cards. That is no way to stay competitive in the AL East. Obviously Tanaka is the main goal of the offseason, but the bidding war is a secret process. Unless the Yankees are willing to blow away any potential bids, they run the risk of another team swooping in and earning the exclusive negotiating rights.
Garza owns a lifetime 3.84 ERA in his six years as a major league pitcher. The 30-year-old pitched to a solid 3.17 ERA in Chicago last year before imploding slightly after he was traded to the Texas Rangers in the second half. That might be concerning when considering that Garza's good looking numbers came when facing the pitcher multiple times per game. With the Rays between 2008 and 2010, Garza's ERA was 3.86 with his lowest innings pitched total coming in 2008 at 184. For a fourth or fifth starter, that may not be terrible. He's likely not a guy that a team would want heading up their rotation, though.
The Yankees are a bit desperate for solid pitching at the moment, though hopefully they can get some from contributors like David Phelps, Adam Warren, Michael Pineda, and Vidal Nuno. If not, very much will weigh on their ability to land Tanaka in a super secretive bidding battle. Would they consider Garza to be sufficient backup if the Tanaka plan falls through? Would he be worth bringing in for the back of the rotation anyway, despite his inevitable premium rate?