Daily Archives: November 21, 2011

Justin Verlander commits rare feat; Wins both Cy Young & AL MVP

Justin Verlander commits rare feat; Wins both Cy Young & AL MVP

By Delia E.

The American League MVP was just announced and the honors go to Justin Verlander who committed a rare feat. He won both the AL Cy Young Award along with a MVP honor. Verlander was 24-5 with a 2.20 ERA. Verlander became the second pitcher to win both the Cy Young and the AL MVP award since Dennis Eckersley in 1992.

In 2nd place in the MVP voting was Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox, in 3rd place was Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays and in 4th place was Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees. Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia & David Robertson also had MVP votes.

Congratulations to Justin Verlander!

Hot Stove Targeting: Matt Garza

Garza is an AL East-tested winner in his prime

With the Cubs coming off a 71-win season, there have been rumors that everyone on the team is available.  To the Yankees, nobody on their roster would be more attractive than Matt Garza.  A soon to be 28, AL East tested pitcher with strikeout stuff, Garza is just the type of guy the Yanks are looking for.


Since becoming a full-time starter in 2008 with Tampa, the strong 6’4″ 215 pound Garza has ranked 28th amongst MLB pitchers in WAR, having made at least 30 starts in each of the last 4 seasons.  Over that period he has compiled a 44-41 record with a 3.72 ERA/ 3.92 FiP / 4.01 xFiP.  He’s had a 7.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 over that time also.

Garza has shown a propensity for missing bats and had a career high 8.95 K/9 & 11.2% Swing/Miss rate in 2011.  Overall, 2011 was his best season in almost every aspect as he also had career highs with a 3.32 /2.95 / 3.19 line and only a 0.64 HR rate despite pitching in HR-friendly Wrigley Field.

Year Tm W L ERA GS IP SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9
2007 MIN 5 7 3.69 15 83.0 67 1.542 10.4 0.9 3.5 7.3
2008 TBR 11 9 3.70 30 184.2 128 1.240 8.3 0.9 2.9 6.2
2009 TBR 8 12 3.95 32 203.0 189 1.261 7.8 1.1 3.5 8.4
2010 TBR 15 10 3.91 32 204.2 150 1.251 8.5 1.2 2.8 6.6
2011 CHC 10 10 3.32 31 198.0 197 1.258 8.5 0.6 2.9 9.0
6 Seasons 52 54 3.83 149 923.1 769 1.303 8.6 1.0 3.1 7.5
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/21/2011

Garza’s arsenal consists of a  Plus, 4-Seam Fastball that averages 93.7 MPH and hits up to 96-97 at times. He throws the 4-seamer 38% of the time and also incorporates a 2-seam FB that gets better downward action that he threw 16% of the time in 2011.  Garza has a Plus Slider that is his most effective offering.  It averages 86 MPH and is clearly his Out pitch that he goes to over 40% of the time with 2-strikes on hitters.  He also features a Curveball & Changeup but they are definitely his secondary offerings as they lack the effectiveness of his Fastballs & Slider.

Garza does not show any discernible platoon splits as he’s actually a little more effective vs lefties in his career:

vs LH Hitters  .239/.316/.373/.689

vs RH Hitters .261/.315/.410/.726

Another positive is Garza is proven in the AL East.  In 3 seasons, he never had an ERA over 3.95 or a WHIP over 1.26. And those stats were accumulated during his 24-26 year old seasons which is quite impressive.  His post-season experience only consists of 5 starts but he was a solid 2-1, 3.48 ERA & 1.29 WHIP.  He was MVP of the 2008 AL Championship Series when he threw 2 excellent games against Boston to vault the Rays into the World Series.


This season Garza had the highest GB rate of his career at 46.3% but this was a big difference from the 35.8% he produced in Tampa in 2010 where he also had a high 1.23 HR/9.  It seems Garza made some adjustments when pitching in Wrigley by throwing  more 2-seamers and keeping the ball down in the zone to limit HRs and Fly balls in general.  However, it’s possible that 2011 was a bit of an outlier and he his GB% will dip down closer to his career mark of 41%.  As we know, RH fly-ball pitchers aren’t ideal in Yankee Stadium but I think Garza has the stuff to succeed there and if he pitches the way he did in 2011, he really isn’t a fly-ball pitcher anymore.

Fit for the Yanks?

Without a doubt, he would help the Yankees.  He would slide right in as their #2 starter and supply 30 starts/200 ip of solid baseball.  The questions are….is he available and what is the price?

Cubs Perspective 

New president Theo Epstein * GM Jed Hoyer have taken over a Cubs organization with little talent on the Major Lg roster and a depleted Farm system that ranks as one of the worst in MLB.  Matt Garza is one of the team’s few attractive assets along with Carlos Marmol, Starlin Castro and Ryan Dempster.  Epstein has made it clear that everyone is available and although Garza would be a good building block, trading him could also be a tool to re-build the barren system, especially considering he only has 2 more seasons of team control before hitting the open market.  Garza made $5.9M in 2011 and will probably get somewhere close to $8-9M in arbitration this season.

What Would it take to Get Him?

One thing the Cubs do have is money.  So there is no reason they need to trade Garza, but as mentioned it may be the best way to quickly re-stock the system.  The Cubs gave up 5 prospects to get Garza from TB including their 1st and 4th best prospects at the time and 2 useful players that showed promise with the Rays in Sam Fuld & Robinson Chirnos.

I would think the price for the Yanks would be pretty steep considering they’d be getting 2 years of a solid pitcher in his prime.  From a Yankee persepective, it seems Cashman is very reluctant to give up Montero or Banuelos unless he is getting a true #1 starter.  So  it seems any package would start with Dellin Betances along with either Romine or Nunez, a pitcher from the Noesi/Warren/Phelps bunch and a 4th prospect.  Do you guys think that is fair from a Yankees and Cubs perspective?  As a Cubs fan, would you trade Garza or try to build around him?  Let me know what you think?

Seattle Mariners OF Greg Halman killed

Seattle Mariners OF Greg Halman killed

By Delia E.

Dutch police have announced that Seattle Mariners OF Greg Halman was stabbed to death and his younger brother was arrested in connection to his murder.

Rotterdam Police responded to a call to a home in Dutch port city on early Monday morning and found Halman bleeding from a stab wound. The officers attempted to resuscitate Halman but were unsuccessful.

Police have arrested Halman’s 22 year old younger brother and he is currently being questioned by police.

Greg Halman played 35 games with the Seattle Mariners in 2011, with a .230 AVG,  2 HR’s &  6 RBI’s. Halman was just 24 years old.

Morning Bits: A’s, HGH Testing

Once again, aside from the Eduardo Nunez rumblings, there is barely anything going on with the Yankees. Therefore, I’ll simply give you a few MLB links…

Ken Rosenthal writes about the Athletics’ push to move from Oakland to San Jose, 40 miles south of where the Giants play.

— It seems to Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune that MLB players seem to favor testing for HGH.

— If you happen to care, the Phillies acquired Ty Wigginton from the Rockies last night. Exciting.

Have a nice day.