Matt Garza Vs Ubaldo Jimenez…Who Would Be A Better Fit For The New York Yankees?


Sep 26, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher

Matt Garza

(22) throws during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been adamant in the past few weeks on the YGY Podcast that the New York Yankees shouldn’t wait around for Masahiro Tanaka being posted (which by the way may or may not happen tomorrow or Wednesday, Merry Christmas!) and go after Matt Garza. My esteemed co-editor likes Ubaldo Jimenez as an option over Garza. So let’s compare and contrast the two to see who could be the better fit.

Jimenez has been a very durable pitcher in recent years, throwing at least 175 innings the past four seasons. Garza? Not so much. The past two seasons have been injury riddled with just 103.1 and 155 innings, even though in the prior three, he threw 204, 203 and 198 innings. Age is a wash. Garza just turned 30 last month, while Jimenez will turn 30 in January, so both should still be in their prime.

Let’s take a look at some basic stats on the three pitchers: W-L, ERA, WHIP, Innings pitched and K’s. Here’s Garza:

2011: 10-10, 3.32, 1.258, 198 innings, 197 strikeouts

2012: 5-7, 3.91, 1.117, 103 innings, 96 strikeouts

2013 (with Tex and CHI) 10-6, 3.82, 1.236, 155.1 innings, 136 strikeouts

And now for Jimenez:

2011 (with Col and Cle) 10-13, 4.68, 1.402, 188.1 innings, 180 strikeouts

2012: 9-17, 5.40 ERA, 1.613, 176.2 innings, 143 strikeouts

2013: 13-9, 3.31 ERA, 1.330, 182.2, 194 strikeouts

Garza gets the edge in 2011 and 2012 with just these stats, but 2013 goes to Jimenez as he really rebounded in the second half. Let’s take a look at fastball velocity and ground ball rate, something that will come into play when pitching your home games at Yankee Stadium.

Garza FB Velocity:

2010: 93.8

2011: 93.5

2012: 93.2

Ground Ball Rate:

2010: 46.3%

2011: 47.3%

2013: 38.6%


Fastball Velocity:

2011: 93.9

2012: 92.5

2013: 92.1

Groundball rate:

2011: 47.8%

2012: 38.4%

2013: 43.9%

The drop in velocity in Ubaldo is a bit concerning. Garza’s has dropped too, however, the rate is close compared to Jimenez’s fastball being almost two miles slower. Jimenez also faced the Twins, White Sox and Astros in eight of his last 11 starts which could explain a little of his uptick in stats.

Are the Yankees going to sign either? Probably not. If I’m going to give a multi-year deal to either pitcher, I would go with Garza. The Yankees can’t expect Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw and James Shields to hit the open market. Besides, they may have to replace Hiroki Kuroda next year from outside the organization to begin with. Garza could slip in to the number three spot in the rotation, if they choose to.