In the final season of his four-year contract with the Brewers Matt Garza was serviceable for a bulk of the campaign, posting a 3.68 ERA over his first 16 starts while giving up more than three earned runs just four times. However, he hit a rough patch after that, which cost him his rotation spot and caused his numbers to fall below average. While Garza was effective at times for the Brewers last season, the team did not attempt to extend his contract. Garza turned 34 during the offseason and is coming off three subpar seasons in a row, so it's likely he will have to compete for a rotation spot wherever he lands. Regardless, fantasy owners won't find much to like, as he did not post a K/9 better than 6.30 or a WHIP below 1.45 in any of the last three years.
Garza will have shoulder surgery later in the week, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports. Garza will undergo shoulder surgery later in the week to fix a labrum injury suffered during a collision back in June. The 34-year-old right-hander appears to be on the decline after accruing a 4.94 ERA over 114.2 innings in 2017 with the Brewers. Garza became a free agent after the season, and with surgery looming, it seems unlikely that any team will be eager to sign him in the near future.
Garza's contract no longer carries a club option for 2018, as that was voided after he crossed a threshold of games, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports. It had been widely believed that the Brewers had a $5 million option to retain Garza for 2018, but that is not the case anymore. He will be a free agent after the conclusion of the 2017 season. Garza will be available out of the bullpen over the final two games of the season. He has not posted an ERA under 4.50 since 2014, and could struggle to secure a fully guaranteed big-league deal this winter.
The Brewers named Aaron Wilkerson as their starter for Wednesday's series finale with the Pirates, likely meaning that Garza will remain in the bullpen this week. The struggling Garza was bypassed for a start last Friday against the Marlins, with manager Craig Counsell instead turning to reliever Jeremy Jeffress to start what ended up being a bullpen game. After serving as a member of the rotation at Double-A Biloxi for the bulk of the season, Wilkerson should be able to offer the Brewers more innings than Jeffress did in what will be Wilkerson's first major-league start, but even if the rookie falters in the outing, it's unlikely the team would go back to Garza in a rotation role at any other point during the final two weeks of the season. After Wednesday's contest, the Brewers will only require a fifth starter once more in the penultimate game of the regular season, and if the team is still in playoff contention at that point, Counsell would probably lean on one of his other four starters on short rest rather than turn to Garza. The veteran right-hander made his first relief appearance of the season last Saturday, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings.
Garza will not start Wednesday's game against the Pirates. The Brewers will instead give the ball to Chase Anderson on short rest and presumably use Thursday's off day to skip Garza this time through the rotation. With Jimmy Nelson (shoulder) out for the rest of the season, Garza should return to a starting role in the near future, but he's firmly out of the discussion in mixed leagues.
Garza (6-9) gave up five runs on six hits and two walks while striking out two over 2.2 innings in a losing effort against the Reds on Wednesday. The Brewers were hoping that an extended rest between appearances would lead to better results for Garza, but that wasn't the case. While he managed to keep the Reds off the board through two, Garza fell apart in the third, allowing four straight hits followed by a walk. Milwaukee could turn elsewhere -- possibly to Brent Suter or Junior Guerra -- the next time through the rotation.