Brewers sign Matt Garza to 4-year contract

Layne Murdoch

With Tanaka off the board, Garza moved quickly and landed a four-year deal with Milwaukee.

While speaking at the Brewers On Deck fanfest this afternoon, Milwaukee Brewers' owner Mark Attanasio officially announced that the team has agreed to a four-year contract with starter Matt Garza. According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, the deal guarantees $50 million over the first four years, and includes $4 million in incentive clauses and a $13 million vesting option for 2018. FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal first reported that the sides had come to agreement on Thursday, following a report from MLB.com's Brewer Nation that the sides were working on a deal.

Attanasio's announcement comes after three days of confusion about the Garza negotiations, fueled by an official announcement from the team late Thursday that claimed that "despite media reports, negotiations between the Brewers and Matt Garza are ongoing, but there is no deal yet." The sides likely spent the last few days hammering out the final details of the contract, with the intention of announcing the deal at today's fanfest.

Garza, 30, will provide an immediate boost to a Brewers' rotation that already includes top-line arms like Kyle Lohse and Yovani Gallardo. His market was slow to develop this winter due to the Masahiro Tanaka saga, but the Twins, Blue Jays, Angels and Diamondbacks also showed interest in signing him.

In 24 starts split between the Cubs and Rangers last season, Garza was a combined 10-6 with a 3.82 ERA in 24 starts. After returning from injury and getting off to a strong start with the Cubs, he struggled with the Rangers down the stretch, notching a 4-5 record and 4.38 ERA over the season's last two months.

Garza is the first of the three major free agent starters who were expected to sign once Tanaka decided, and will likely be followed by Ervin Santana, Bronson Arroyo and Ubaldo Jimenez within the next couple of weeks. Both of those players have draft-pick compensation tied to them, meaning that Garza's relatively-low average annual value ($13 million per year) likely does not bode well for their free agent value.

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