By now you may have heard that the Dodgers are in complete purchase mode, ready to spend big on filling the pieces of the puzzle necessary to lift them not only into the playoffs, but also to the World Series.
The thought was that the Dodgers could simply rent a pitcher for cheap to guide them towards the finish line, complete the season, and then bid heavily on Cole Hamels. But it was rebuffed when Hamels re-signed with the Phillies on Wednesday, inking a six-year, $144 million contract, taking him off the free agent market.
So now the Dodgers are left to head back to the drawing board so that they can re-convene and single out their next candidate. That’s where I come in as I will take a look at the three most likely candidates to fit the bill as the it guy for the Dodgers.
Hands down, Greinke is the obvious pick, and evidently the most sought-after, and expensive player on the market as well. He now inherits the title as the hottest free agent name this off-season should he not sign an extension with either the Brewers, or his new team. Greinke’s FIP suggests that he might even pitch better than he has shown already, standing at a very impressive 2.55, which is rated as excellent by Fan Graphs.
Don’t sleep on Garza though, who posts the best H/9 rate of the three pitchers, also besting the other two pitchers in WHIP despite having the worst mark in terms of BB/9. His FIP suggests that his ERA just might be telling of his sub-par ERA, which in my opinion should lower his value to a point where the Cubs should be worried about the bounty they will be offered in exchange for his services.
What can we argue about for James Shields though?
Let’s look at the career stats for each player:
Nope, still no reason. While Shields has spent the duration of his career with the Rays, his numbers just aren’t pretty. He’s in this conversation because of a stellar 2011 season, but there is no guarantee that he can return to that state. Here is a look at his numbers from 2011:
It’s just not worth the gamble.
Greinke played for a weaker Kansas City Royals team before moving on to Milwaukee with the Brewers. He made lemonade with his share of lemons. As did Garza, who played for the Twins, Rays, and then Cubs. They made something out of nothing when their teams would not assist them.
Back to the career numbers, how can you not look at Matt Garza? His ERA and WHIP are nearly identical to the overly-priced Greinke, who will get the Brewers every penny they deserve in a trade.
But didn’t I say that Garza’s FIP from this season would lower his value? I sure did.
From the Dodgers’ standpoint, you almost have to use that as your selling point while keeping in mind just how similar both Garza and Greinke really are. Moving to a ballpark like Dodger Stadium could do wonders for him, and he would field one of the nastiest lineups in baseball to protect him.
While I don’t have stats for Garza against the Dodgers since he’s never opposed them, I do have some against the hated Giants.
In two starts (both in San Francisco), Garza is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA, which included 12 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on 14 hits, striking out 12 and walking two batters. The win came in 2011, while the loss followed in 2012, albeit it wasn’t far off:
I pick the Giants as an example because their ballpark factor of 0.942 is just ahead of the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, which lies at 0.939, where the lower the stat is, the lesser runs that are produced in that ballpark.
Wrigley Field is third on the list at 1.170, just behind Yankee Stadium (1.177), and vastly behind Coors Field (1.364).
Best of all, Garza is arbitration-eligible at the end of this season before becoming a free agent in 2014. This is why his price tag is held so high, but, you have to pay it. The guy is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered on a winning ball-club, like that which is being built in Los Angeles with the Dodgers.
Quiet those Ryan Dempster talks, and turn the attention to Garza, he’s our man, and we have to do whatever it takes to bring him to wear Dodger Blue.