Matt Garza free agency: Angels, Diamondbacks are frontrunners

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Garza is one of the most established starting pitchers left on the free agent market. Negotiations for his services are heating up.

Teams are closing in on free agent right hander Matt Garza, with the Diamondbacks and Angels leading the chase, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman.

Garza started the 2013 season with the Cubs, cruising to a 3.17 ERA and six wins in his first 71 innings. Wins might not mean much, but he was on the mound when his team won -- and they didn't do that very often. Through July 22nd, the Cubs had just 30 victories, and decided to ship Garza to the Texas Rangers for minor leaguers Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, and C.J. Edwards in an effort to bolster their rebuilding project.

Pitching in the Ballpark at Arlington isn't easy for anyone (except maybe Yu Darvish). Garza struggled there, posting a 4.38 ERA the rest of the way for Texas. Some of that relative failure is due to park factors, and Garza's peripheral stats stayed close to his career average, so there is little concern that his talent has slipped.

Arizona and Los Angeles have both been looking for front-of-the-rotation help this winter, so things could get competitive in the bidding for Garza.

The Angels made some strides in improving a rotation that finished 11th in the American League in 2013 by adding Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs when they traded Mark Trumbo. Both of them could be contributors for the Angels next year, but the team desperately needed a sturdy mid-rotation arm to rely on last year. Garza could slide in behind Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson to provide Los Angeles with a solid one through three, leaving their new additions to battle with Garret Richards for spots at the back end.

Skaggs likely would have battled righty Randall Delgado for the fifth spot in Arizona's rotation behind Pat Corbin, Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, and Brandon McCarthy. Garza would provide the D-backs with a proven arm at the front of a young staff.

MLB Trade Rumors' Steven Adams predicted a four-year deal worth $64 million at the beginning of the offseason, but with the way established starters have bee rewarded on the open market so far, Garza's camp might be expecting more.

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