Jon Garland, RHP, free agent - A market is beginning to develop, and Texas appears to be the early leader. Another mid-to-back-end rotation guy that is probably better off in the NL, but that doesn’t mean an AL team won’t take the plunge if the price is reasonable.
Garland isn't good, and he's a guy I've used the last couple of years as the poster child for what the Rangers don't need...a mediocre innings eater.
That said, he makes more sense now, with Kevin Millwood gone and Rich Harden in place, than he did with Millwood here, and I suspect that if the Rangers had been able to keep Millwood while adding Harden, they wouldn't be in on Garland.
One of the things I've hammered on is that the 2010 Rangers are a team that is supposed to be a playoff contender, and just rolling with the kids and letting them take their lumps isn't as acceptable an option now as it has been the previous couple of years. The rotation, at this point, is probably Harden, Scott Feldman, Tommy Hunter, and two guys out of C.J. Wilson, Brandon McCarthy, and Derek Holland.
McCarthy, though, is a guy the Rangers have apparently been shopping for a while, Wilson hasn't started for years, and Holland has been very hit-and-miss.
So...I can see why, if the Rangers could land Garland on a one year deal for $2-3 million, they might make that move. He steps in and replaces Millwood as the guy who soaks up some innings. He's put up FIPs in the mid-4s for several years in a row, and he's very groundball-oriented, which means that he's someone who is a better fit for the Rangers given their infield defense. CHONE projects Garland as a 4.60 ERA guy in 2010.
If this is what we are talking about, then it is a deal where, I guess I can understand why it is being made, even though it isn't necessarily a move I'd make, if it were up to me.
I'd have preferred to pour resources into getting the best bat on the market. But if you figure that a David Murphy/random righty bat platoon is going to give you as much production as the available DH options, and you can get a random righty bat for cheap, then there's money left over in the budget for someone like Garland.
As numerous of the statheady guys have pointed out, one year deals are almost never bad deals, and if it is a one year deal for Garland for cheap, then it probably isn't bad. Adding Garland likely means Wilson staying in the bullpen, meaning that your pen lines up as Frank Francisco, Wilson, Oliver, Darren O'Day, Dustin Nippert, and a couple of other guys -- probably Neftali Feliz and either Ben Snyder or Doug Mathis. That's a very strong group.
I don't know. Maybe I'm just talking myself into finding this deal acceptable. A Harden/Garland/Feldman/Hunter/Holland rotation, or McCarthy in the rotation with Holland in AAA, is okay, no worse than having Garland out and one of the replacements in, and it gives you more depth for when someone gets hurt or is ineffective, although you've got a lot of depth anyway.
This would all depend on the price, at the end of the day, and what resources it leaves the team to get a bat. Like the Darren Oliver signing, it isn't necessarily a bad thing in a vacuum, and if this team had a $80-90 million payroll, I might even say this is a good thing. The question is about resource allocation, and what restrictions a possible Garland deal puts on the team's ability to address their big weakness last season -- the offense.