Friday, January 6, 2012

My Reaction To “Jackson vs. Garza”

Jon Heyman recently published an article stating that when it comes to the Yankees adding a starter it’s Edwin Jackson vs. Matt Garza. Heyman says that guys like Kuroda, Jurrjens, Wandy Rodriguez, Gavin Floyd, and Roy Oswalt either don’t fit or are not what the Yankees want. I get that. Jon goes on to say that Jackson has a couple of big plusses… endurance and health. He has 30+ games started in the last 5 seasons, and has not been on the DL over the last 5 seasons. Garza on the other hand, according to Heyman, is just too expensive at this time (in terms of prospects in a trade).
My initial reaction is this… Edwin Jackson is not a #2 starter. At least not on the Yankees he’s not. I’m sure the Pirates would be thrilled to have him as their #2 starter, but that’s a dubious distinction seeing as how Pittsburgh had the worst starting pitching in MLB (according to fWAR). The asking price isn’t ridiculous as far as it’s annual average value (AAV). Scott Boras has said he’s looking for 5 years and $60 million, which works out to $12 million a season. Scott Kazmir made $12 million in 2011, and he only threw 63 pitches. Even if you look past last season Scott hasn’t had an ERA below 4.00 since 2008. So I can see Edwin getting $12 million, or even a bit more, a season. But 5 years? No thanks. Hell, the Yankees are already paying AJ Burnett $16.5 million to be the #5 starter (and that’s kind of generous, as AJ is barely worth a rotation spot).
Basically when it comes to acquiring a starter it’s a true #2 or nothing. Therefore the first question that should be asked is this… is Matt Garza a #2 starter?
In the past three seasons Matt Garza’s xFIP is 3.88, which is 51st among qualified starters in MLB. Garza’s fWAR is 9.7, which is 32nd in MLB. Simple math tells me that “yes”, Matt Garza is a legitimate #2 starter.
Matt is 28 so it’s not like we’re trading away prospects for one season. Matt can help out for at least the next two years while he’s under team control, which would take him through his age 29 season. And if he’s still doing well at that point, then I can see the Yankees bringing him back for another 5 years or so. So we can’t say we don’t want to deal prospects because he’s only a short-term solution, unlike other pitchers we’ve discussed trading for in the past (Jesus Montero for Cliff Lee?). Sure, a guy like Manny Banuelos may be able to give the Yankees a couple more “prime” seasons, but remember… there’s no guarantee about how good his “prime” seasons will be. But there’s one thing not even the best pitching prospect in the Yankee system can do for them, and that’s help them win in 2012.
That’s not to say I’m okay with trading Banuelos, I’m just making a point that Garza can give the Yankees quite a bit of help next season and in future seasons. So if the Yankees can trade for Garza without giving up 2 of their top 3 prospects, then I’m all for it.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)