The Twins are interested in free agent right hander Matt Garza, as Darren Wolfson of ESPN Twin Cities reports. Minnesota is willing to pay Garza a high annual salary, but they appear hesitant to offer a long-term deal.
The team has already added free agents Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, but it appears as though they will remain proactive in their efforts to improve on a rotation that finished last in team ERA in 2013.
Garza started the season with the Cubs, posting a 3.17 ERA through his first 17 starts. Just before the trade dealing Chicago shipped Garza to the Texas Rangers for minor leaguers Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, C.J. Edwards, and Neil Ramirez. In Texas, Garza put up a 4.38 ERA in just over 84 innings.
Unlike a few of the other top pitchers on the market, he presents the Twins with the opportunity to add an impact starter without having to surrender their first-round draft pick. The Rangers did not have the option to extend Garza a qualifying offer, having acquired him during the season.
Minnesota has one of the most highly regarded farm systems in baseball, but several of their top prospects are position players. ESPN's Christina Kahrl suggests that some of those players could lead to a surprisingly good 2014 season for the Twins, citing a "revamped rotation" that would only be further improved by the addition of Garza.
He was originally drafted by current Twins general manager Terry Ryan in 2005. Ryan resigned in 2007, and shortly after Bill Smith took over as GM, Garza was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays. A reunion could be beneficial for both sides, but Garza might have to be open to making some concessions in order for that to happen.