Hot Stove Report: What’s Holding Up Garza’s Contract?


We all know the timeline by now.

The news broke that Matt Garza and the Brewers were nearing agreement on a deal. It was reported that the contract, one for $52 million over four years, was agreed to in principle with physical examination pending.

Then the delays started happening and the Brewers commented publicly about being in negotiations with Garza but denying that a deal was agreed to.

The speculation began whether it could be related to Garza’s injury history and therefore the medical review that pesky physical. Gord Ash inadvertantly added to that conspiracy theory when he declined comment about whether the delay was related to that physical.

Then we thought perhaps the physical was just delayed and Garza hadn’t taken it yet. But then the reports about how he had indeed taken it came out along with assurances that the delay wasn’t medically related.

The only other thing I could think of was that it then had something to do with the contract language so I reached out to a source who confirmed that it was at least part of the situation if it wasn’t all of the snag.

The issue, according to a source, is that the Brewers and Garza are haggling over the distribution of the contract. In other words, how much is paid in which seasons.

They agree on the length and overall value (which they met in the middle on, I’m also told, as the Brewers originally hoped to pay 4yr/$48MM and Garza wanted 4yr/$56MM), but they haven’t yet come to an accord on how the money will be paid out.

Garza is asking for a mostly even average value (which precisely would be $13 million per year) and the Brewers are looking to backload the deal somewhat in order to pay more of it when it’s more affordable. That of course being when the contracts of highly-compensated players like Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez should be off the books.

This hang up in negotiations was described to me as “overcome-able” but deals have also fallen apart over less so nothing is official until the contract is formally announced.

Assuming that this is actually at least part of the issue, I’ll be paying attention to which side “won” though once the year-by-year breakdown of the contract is revealed.


Thanks so much for keeping us up-to-date. Opening day is taking too long to get here.

I’m trying. Thanks for reading!

Thanks for researching and writing. You are far and away my best / favorite source for Brewers information. Really appreciate your work!

Obviously you haven’t gotten enough material or news broke to write another article but have you heard about any updates or if they have a time line on when they believe the deal will be finalized?

Last I heard things were still being discussed.

You think the deal will be done within a day or 2?

I’m sure they hope so. The longer it goes means they haven’t figured out the snag(s).

They probably just have 24 hours to get it done. Otherwise this thing will hang like a dark cloud over the On-Deck event on Sunday, plus another team could swoop in and make a somewhat better offer and grab him out of our glove!

It sure would be fun if the lights dimmed at On Deck at noon and whatever music Garza warms up to when he starts his the PA system. WWE style.

That would be awesome! It would start things off on a very bright and positive direction.

BN, doesn’t Matt Garza pay attention to the signings? (Doesn’t his agent, at least?) This is *always* what the Brewers do — they backload contracts whenever possible, or shift ’em around — and it’s because the Brewers are not a big-market team with a seemingly unlimited revenue stream.

I realize ballplayers can have a myopic worldview, which would account for Garza himself not knowing this, but if Garza wants to sign here shouldn’t his agent have told him this is how the Brewers roll? So we’d not be at this pass right now?

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