If Diamondbacks’ general manager Kevin Towers is set on signing a front-line, free agent pitcher, he has the cash to make it happen.
The two names out there, left-hander David Price and righty Matt Garza would be welcomed, with open arms, to Chase Field. Either would be an important addition to the D-backs’ starting rotation and would likely boost Arizona’s competitive character.
Clearly, the Diamondbacks have need at the starting pitching position.
As projected starters for the coming season, the combined 2013 records of Brandon McCarthy, Wade Miley, Patrick Corbin, Trevor Cahill and Randall Delgado totaled 42-46. Only Corbin finished last season above .500 at 14-8.
Now, can Towers pull off any deal to get Price and/or Garza to the desert.
Realistically, that would be tough and of the two, Garza seems the most practical.
When the 30-year-old was dealt from the Cubs to Texas last season, then-Chicago manager Dale Sveum said, at the time, “Garza was the best pitcher in the game.”
Hard to argue because his numbers were impressive.
When Garza was traded, he sported an 8-1 mark and a 3.17 ERA in 11 starts with the Cubs. As a member of the Rangers, he posted a 4-5 record and 4.38 ERA in 13 starts.
A free agent, Garza has remained quiet but the suitors are loud. Among the callers, the Arizona Diamondbacks.
While Garza may be attractive, his price may be too steep.
Last season, he earned $10.25 million and that was up from the $9.5 mil with the Cubs the year before.
Overall, Garza’s best season was 2010 with Tampa. There, he went 15-10, a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts. Garza also pitched a no-hitter on July 26, 2010 in Tampa against the Detroit Tigers.
For the season ahead, the Diamondbacks are committed to paying heavy salaries to marginal players. In 2014, McCarthy is under contract for $10.2 million and signed a two-year, $18 million contract before the 2013 season.
The D-backs are also under the gun for $7.7 million to Cahill for 2014, and Cahill signed a 4-year, $30 million deal last year.
In the scheme of economics, McCarthy is a challenge. Over the last seven years, the 30-year-old native of Glendale, Calif. landed on the Disabled List 11 times, including three times in 2010.
If there was no commitment to McCarthy, the Diamondbacks would have the money Garza.
Then again, the money could be there. That also includes the projected $4.5 million to $5 million Mark Trumbo is expected to command for 2014.
According to baseball reference.com, the Diamondbacks’ projected payroll for 2014 is $95.3 million, and team could go as high as $112 million.
Part of the economic luxury is television money.
The Diamondbacks are expected to receive around $31 million in 2014. That includes the deal they currently have with Fox SportsArizona. When the Diamondbacks negotiate a new TV contract beginning in 2015, that figure is expected to rise.
If Towers remains in the market for pitching help, consider he previously unloaded left-handed prospects David Holmberg and Tyler Skaggs along with outfielder Adam Eaton.
Trumbo remains the only possible impact player acquired thus far in the off-season.
Overall, Towers left the Winter Meetings satisfied.
“We’re happy with the way everything went,” Towers told MLB.com after the session ended on Thursday. “We have not added a lot of payroll and we still have payroll flexibility. I think we’re a better offensive club then when we arrived.”
ANOTHER POWER ARM
In the Rule 5 draft Thursday, the Diamondbacks picked up right-hander Marcos Mateo from the Cubs.
With a 97 mile per-hour fastball and wicked slider, Mateo could challenge for a bullpen slot.
“Power arm, fastball up the 97 with a wipe-out slider,” Ryan Issac, D-backs’ director of baseball operation, told MLB.com. “Two-pitch profile for the pen. A lot to like about that.”
There’s a catch to a Rule 5 player.
Mateo was automatically added to the Arizona 40-man roster and must remain on the Diamondbacks' major league roster throughout the 2014 season. If not, he’s subject to return to the Cubs.