In any rebuild, fans are eager to see a young, fresh arm supplant the old flame with a foot out the door. Plenty of Brewer fans would love to see Matt Garza get bumped, but most understand the Brewers must try to get something out of their investment in 2014—if only a few interesting minor leaguers in a potential mid-season trade.
Is there a chance Matt Garza remains a Brewer past 2017? No. Well, probably not. The real concern is if the Brewers could possibly end up stuck with him another year.
Breaking Down Garza’s Remaining Contract
The Brewers are locked into a $12.5 million-dollar commitment for 2017. Unless a buyer on the trade market picks up part of the tab, this isn’t changing.
Garza’s contract outlines potential vesting and club options for the 2018 season:
The Scary $13M Vesting Option
Garza’s option vests at $13M in 2018 if he completes ALL of the following:
- Start 110 games in 2014-17 (he would have to start 39 games in 2017)
- Pitch 115 innings in 2017
- Do not finish the 2017 season on the DL
No one’s started 39 games since 1986 (Rick Mahler and Tim Browning). This won’t happen. Garza’s option will not vest.
Potential Club Options
Since his $13M option will not vest, the team holds a $5M option to keep him on for 2018.
Furthermore, if Garza spends more than 130 days on the disabled list in any 183 day period in 2017 the club option drops to $1M.
They Won’t Get Stuck with Him
The Brewers are situated pretty well here. No potential outcome frightens me:
- He pitches terribly and the Brewers cut him, eating the remainder of his contract
- He suffers a long term injury; the Brewers pick up the $1M option and try to move him in the offseason (Got to think they’d just cut ties instead)
- He pitches well, the Brewers net a few prospects in a mid-season deal
- He pitches really well and the Brewers release him into the free agent market
Worse case scenario: he pitches well, they fail to move him during the season, pick up his $5M option and again fail to move him in the offseason. Very unlikely.
There's virtually no chance he suits up as a Brewer in 2018 or adopts any kind of albatross role on the payroll. Of course, they're already stuck with him for 2017—but at least it isn't about to get any worse.
The reality? The better he performs, the better the Brewers make out. So let's hope for it.