Timing played part in Garza signing with Crew
At time of Angels' offer, right-hander opted to not disrupt vacation with wife
PHOENIX -- Why didn't Matt Garza jump at that four-year offer from the Los Angeles Angels in December?
Bad timing, he said Monday in Milwaukee Brewers camp.
"They offered, but it was more of a weird situation," said Garza, who wound up getting $50 million in guaranteed money from Milwaukee, $2 million less than the Angels' best offer. "I was on vacation with my wife and I didn't want to be disturbed, and it was like, 'Here it is, we'll pull it in a certain amount of hours.' I didn't have a chance to respond, so I just said, 'Whatever. It is what it is.'"
He added: "It wasn't anything big. It was an offer and I said, 'I'm on vacation. I'm not thinking about baseball, dude. Me and my wife are enjoying ourselves.'"
Garza and wife Serina were in Turks and Caicos at the time, on an anniversary trip. The Angels made an offer, upped it when they did not hear back and then subsequently pulled four years off the table as an option. It would be about six weeks before Garza signed with the Brewers.
"Look, we had a $52 million offer on the table for Garza. And they wouldn't respond to it," Angels owner Arte Moreno told MLB.com last week. "And this was early. ... When he's good, he can be a [No. 2 starter]. He can help you. And it would've really given us that layer of depth."
"I had no worries," Garza said. "God's going to make things work out either way. It is what it is. I guess you didn't want me that bad, I take it. I found a team that wants me and makes me feel at home. I was looking for a great fit, and I believe I found it."
He found it with a Brewers team willing to spend big -- Garza's contract is the largest for a free agent in club history -- to bolster a starting rotation projected to include Kyle Lohse, Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada and Wily Peralta. Garza's agent, Nez Balelo, has a good relationship with Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio and general manager Doug Melvin from previous deals for players like Ryan Braun and Norichika Aoki, and worked out an agreement that includes deferred money, $1 million in incentives available in each of the four guaranteed seasons, plus a complex fifth year option that can vest if Garza stays healthy.
During negotiations, Attanasio met with Garza in person.
"A really great guy," Garza said. "Down to earth. It was awesome just chatting it up with him. I was looking for a great fit -- someplace who wanted me. It wasn't just, 'We want you to pawn you off for something else.' That's what really kind of stuck with me. Just saying,' Here, we want you this bad. We'll give you this.' And I was like, 'Cool.' That's what I was looking for."
Garza will have no trouble getting to know his new rotation mates. His locker is in a row that includes all five of the Brewers' projected starters, plus youngsters Tyler Thornburg and Johnny Hellweg and catchers Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado.
When his new teammates have talked about Garza, they have all been the same word: Intense.
"You build a reputation," Garza said. "I hate losing. I'm sure everybody does here. I just have a funny way of showing it. It's who I am. I haven't changed and I don't plan on changing. I have fun, man. This game is all about having a good time."