The Texas Rangers finally completed the trade for Chicago Cubs ace Matt Garza on Monday afternoon. The deal, which sends prospects and starting pitcher Justin Grimm to the Windy City in exchange for Garza, comes at a perfect time for Texas as Alexi Ogando is on the 15-Day Disabled List while Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison remain on the 60-Day DL while Yu Darvish has finally returned from injury. However, Garza may help the Rangers this season much like Cliff Lee did in 2010, but he’ll be a free agent at the end of the year, which means this could be deja vu for Texas.
Garza and the Cubs reportedly started to work on a contract extension before he was finally dealt Monday and the 29-year-old right-hander said he’s looking for a contract in the area of $15 million per year once he’s on the open market. The Rangers can certainly offer him that, but that and a chance to win a World Series may not even be enough to keep Garza because as a free agent, he can sign anywhere he chooses in 2014.
The Rangers pulled a similar deal in 2010 for Lee, who helped the team to its first World Series appearance, but then the lefty split town to sign a mammoth deal with the Philadelphia Phillies a month after a dreadful showing in the Fall Classic.
That’s not to say Garza will flop if the Rangers make it back to the World Series this year, but he could easily just tip his hat and then bolt for greener pastures at the end of Texas’ season, whenever that may be. Put simply, it’s a great short-term deal for Texas, assuming Rangers general manager Jon Daniels doesn’t already have a deal in the works to extend Garza’s contract. Otherwise, the Rangers will be in the same boat again next year with or without a World Series trophy to show for it.