Matt Garza free agency: SP could sign within two days

Ronald Martinez

Garza has been fairly quiet on the free agent market, but the fact a team would not have to give up a draft pick to sign him makes him appealing.

Free agent starting pitcher Matt Garza could sign a deal with a team within 24 to 48 hours of Wednesday morning, reports Jayson Stark of ESPN.

Garza, 30, made 24 starts in 2013 split between the Cubs and Rangers. He missed the first six weeks of the season due to a strained side muscle. He finished the year with a 3.82 ERA and 1.24 WHIP while striking out 136 batters in 155 innings. He struggled some after being acquired by the Rangers, posting a 4.38 ERA in 13 starts in Texas.

Garza has not posted an ERA over 3.95 since his rookie season in 2006 with the Twins. Over eight major league seasons, he has a career 3.84 ERA and 1.28 WHIP.

Stark notes that the Diamondbacks have been heavily active in talks with Garza lately. After trading for Mark Trumbo Tuesday, Arizona no longer has a great need for a corner outfielder, which leaves them available to chase starting pitching help.

The Diamondbacks are not overly desperate for pitching help, but Brandon McCarthy had his struggles last year and finished with a 4.53 ERA. A strong September helped salvage his numbers as he had an ERA over 5.00 through August. Patrick Corbin, Wade Miley and Trevor Cahill are al locks to remain in the rotation. Randall Delgado is a recent top prospect who made 20 solid appearances in Arizona in 2013, posting a 4.26 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. He has nothing more to prove in the minors.

Arizona's depth could be tested if any of their starters sustain an injury, however. Ian Kennedy was traded last season and top prospect Tyler Skaggs was shipped off in the Trumbo deal. The only other pitchers to start for the team last year were David Holmberg and Zeke Spruill, neither of whom the team would likely want to rely on for an extended period of time.

In addition to the Diamondbacks, the Twins have shown a great interest in re-acquiring Garza. The team has already signed Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes after stating their goal for the offseason was to sign two starting pitchers. However, they would likely jump at the chance to bring in another starter of Garza's caliber considering they received a league-worst 5.23 ERA from their starting staff in 2013.

Because the Rangers acquired Garza mid-season from Cubs, they were unable to make a qualifying offer to him. Thus, any team that signs Garza this offseason will not be required to forfeit a draft pick. That could make him more desirable than some other top pitchers on the market like Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez, both of whom received a qualifying offer.

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