COMMENTARY | The free-agent rumors are already swirling around the New York Yankees -- Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann have already been linked to the pinstripes -- but there's another name the Bronx Bombers should be targeting this offseason.
The 29-year-old right-hander has enjoyed a successful career thus far, posting a 67-67 record alongside a 3.84 ERA. Yankees fans may remember Garza from his three seasons pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays, where he went 34-31 with a 3.86 ERA.
Garza is coming off a 10-6 campaign with a 3.82 ERA as a member of the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers, and would be a more than viable option for a New York team that desperately needs pitching. The Yankees ranked 25th in MLB in batting average against this season (.261) and watched as CC Sabathia went 14-13 and sported an inflated 4.78 ERA.
As it turned out, 38-year-old Hiroki Kuroda was arguably New York's best overall pitcher, finishing the season with a 3.31 ERA, but even he finished the season on a slide, going 3-7 with a 4.25 ERA after the All-Star break.
With Kuroda continuing to age, Andy Pettitte set to retire and Sabathia digressing, I think it's an obvious move for the Yankees to go after Garza. He already knows how to pitch in the AL East and has plenty of postseason experience, as he was the ALCS MVP in 2008 for the Rays -- the same season he led the AL in shutouts.
Now, we all know the Yankees' brass is looking to get the payroll under $189 million for the 2014 season, meaning they're not handing out lofty contracts like they did with Alex Rodriguez (thank God). That said, I think this puts the Yankees in a good situation, because I don't think they should overspend on Garza.
Yes, he's a solid starter, but the Yankees have a habit of overpaying players, and that's not going to happen with Garza due to the budgetary restraints, especially with the Bombers trying to retain Robinson Cano this offseason, which I believe is a must.
Acquiring Garza this offseason would give the Yankees' rotation a lot more stability, but their search for starting pitching shouldn't end there. Ivan Nova really came on toward the end of the season, but we can't expect Sabathia and Kuroda to lead the way.
Aside from his time in Tampa, Garza has never benefited from a strong offensive lineup to put up runs for him, pitching for the Cubs and the Minnesota Twins before winding up with the Rangers. If the Yankees can retain some of their key members like Cano and Curtis Granderson, their offense should be better than average to say the least.
I don't think signing Garza should be the top priority this offseason, but he should definitely be on the Yankees' radar to help bolster the starting rotation.
Pete Schauer is a native of the Jersey Shore where he covers the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Nets and New York Giants and as a Yahoo Sports contributor. You can follow him on Twitter @Pete_Schauer and find him on Google+.
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