Source: Twins attempted to sign Matt Garza to 3-year, $42 million deal
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In a one-on-one conversation at the Diamond Awards on Jan. 23, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire suggested that the front office was busy chasing a big-name free agent.
Well, it turns out he was telling the truth, and the player is pitcher Matt Garza.
A Twins source with direct knowledge said Minnesota made Garza a three-year, $42 million offer. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick was the first to report the parameters. The source said the Twins were willing to offer a fourth year as a vesting option. The source said, "Makeable if healthy."
The Twins had numerous discussions this offseason with Garza's agent, Nez Balelo, who negotiated pitcher Phil Hughes' three-year, $24 million contract. A few of those were had face-to-face.
Garza signed a four-year, $50 million contact with Milwaukee on Jan. 27. The Brewers also included a vesting option for a fifth year. That deal includes a $13 million option for 2018 that would become guaranteed if he makes 110 starts during the next four years, pitches 155 innings in 2017 and is not on the disabled list at the end of that season.
Milwaukee also would get an extra year at a relatively low salary if he has a significant arm injury. Balelo and the Twins discussed a comparable outline.
Garza, 30, went 10-6 with a 3.82 ERA last year with the Rangers and Cubs. He missed most of the first two months with a muscle strain on his left side. He also missed the second half of the 2012 season with the Cubs because of a stress reaction in his right elbow. When healthy, Garza can dominate. He's had seven straight seasons with an ERA below 4.00.
Before being traded to Tampa after the 2007 season, Garza was the Twins' 2005 first round pick.