The Brewers informed right-hander Matt Garza that they’ve removed him from the rotation this weekend, writes Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Garza, according to Rosiak, “was livid” when informed of the move.
“It’s not my decision,” said Garza. “I didn’t get much say. It’s completely taken out of my hands. That’s it. I didn’t have any say at all. It is what it is. It’s just (expletive).”
While Garza’s numbers certainly aren’t in line with his career norms — the veteran has a 5.63 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 6.3 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 148 2/3 innings — he seemingly wanted the opportunity to sort out his issues and end the season on a high note. “I’ve played with guys who have gone through similar-type situations, just a rough year, and never once have I seen a guy shut down,” said Garza, adding that he has asked agent Nez Balelo of CAA Sports to contact the front office and express his displeasure with the decision.
Via MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Garza continued: “We have an acting GM, and in three to four months, I’ll be introducing myself to a new one. That’s all I’ve got. For the last nine seasons, I’ve had a mid-3.00 [ERA], and I have one off year. It is what it is.” (Full video of Garza’s interview can be seen here, courtesy of MLB.com.) Garza did accept responsibility for the way he pitched and offered no excuses for his performance, stating, “It’s all on me. I’m the one who makes the pitches.”
Garza was given the option to pitch out of the bullpen for the rest of the season, GM Doug Melvin told Rosiak, but unlike teammate Kyle Lohse, he declined to take that opportunity. Summer trade acquisition Zach Davies has already joined the rotation (following Taylor Jungmann‘s addition earlier this year), and the Brewers will use Garza’s spot to look at other future options as well. Ariel Pena is one option to get a look. Manager Craig Counsell did tell reporters that Garza “is going to be a member of the rotation in 2016.”
As McCalvy notes, though, there could potentially be financial ramifications of the decision for Garza. The right-hander is slated to earn $12.5MM in each of the next two seasons, but his contract contains a vesting option for the 2018 season that will vest at $13MM if Garza makes 110 starts from 2014-17 and finishes the 2017 healthy with more than 115 innings thrown. As it stands right now, he’s on pace to finish with 106 starts over the initial four years of his contract, making the three to four lost starts potentially significant. If the option does not vest at $13MM, it shrinks substantially to a $5MM club option.