Is Garza A Better Target Than Grienke For The Mets?

I wanted to add a quick update based on some new information from this morning.

According to MetsBlog, the Royals are now getting back to teams who have expressed interest in acquiring RHP Zach Greinke, but no word on if that includes the Mets.

The Nationals are ‘aggressively pursuing’ a trade for Rays RHP Matt Garza or Greinke,” according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

The Rangers, Twins, Braves, Mariners, Yankees, Brewers, Cubs and Blue Jays have all been linked to either one or both of these pitchers.

Original Post 12/13 11:00 AM

While the Cliff Lee cliffhanger moves into a new week, Mets fans haven’t had much to talk about when it comes to elite starting pitching. Sure there’s been talk of Freddy Garcia possibly returning, and maybe signing Jeff Francis or Chris Young, but those guys don’t exactly qualify as game changers and difference makers.

We’ve heard the speculation among the Mets faithful at times about pursuing a Matt Garza or a Zach Grienke to fill our need at the top of the rotation, and either of them would fill in nicely as a number two starter.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports compares the two in his column this morning.

For all the appeal of Royals right-hander Zack Greinke, Rays right-hander Matt Garza might make even more sense to a team seeking to trade for starting pitching, he says, and he may be right, especially where the Mets are concerned. Rosenthal writes,

True, Greinke is more of an ace, or at least he was before slumping to a 4.17 ERA last season. But get this: Garza will be paid roughly the same amount over the next three seasons as Greinke will be paid over the next two. That’s right, any team that obtains Garza instead of Greinke will gain an additional year of control at comparable dollars.

Garza figures to earn $24 million to $26 million over the next three years in arbitration. Greinke will earn $27 million over the final two years of his contract before becoming a free agent. Which would a team rather have: the superior pitcher or the pitcher who comes with an extra year of control?

It’s a good question, but one that seems obviously simple from a Mets point of view, the choice should be Matt Garza.

Nobody is saying that Garza is better than Grienke who has out-performed Garza in the last three seasons, but he simply makes more sense for the Mets not only in contract years and contract dollars, but possibly in temperament too. Something that should never be taken lightly in the New York spotlight.

Here’s the dope from a statistical view by Rosenthal,

Greinke is the superior pitcher: His 3.25 ERA over the past three seasons is more than a half-run per game lower than Garza’s. His .674 opponents’ OPS is 28 points lower. His 3.74 strikeout-to-walk ratio is better by a significant margin. Garza, though, is not exactly a slouch.

He actually has been more consistent than Greinke, posting sub-4.00 ERAs in each of the past three seasons while pitching in the AL East. He also offers postseason experience, which Greinke does not. Garza, the 2008 ALCS MVP, is 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA in five postseason starts.

Homeruns have plagued Garza in the last two seasons, a malady that could very well be cured by getting out of the AL East altogether, and pitching half of his games in spacious Citi Field.

His WAR over the last three seasons checks in at 7.9, or more than any other Mets pitcher not named Johan Santana.

Garza will undoubtedly cost less than Grienke in terms of what we would have to give up to get them.

So you have Garza who is statistically similar to Grienke, has one more year of team control than Grienke, could probably handle New York better than Grienke, and will cost less than Grienke.

The real question is not whether or not we should go after Matt Garza, but what should we give up to get him.