If you have been hanging around these parts for a while, you know that the model for this site is to tell you what the Rays have done, what they are doing and try to project what they will do, and why. Unlike most team blogs, we do not very often tell you what the Tampa Bay Rays should do. However, for the next 12 days we will step away from the standard, and we present to you 12 “presents” the Tampa Bay Rays should give to their fans.

On the fifth day of Raysmas, the Tampa Bay Rays gave to us, a FIVE-year extension for Matt Garza…

After 52 big league starts, the Rays gave James Shields a 4-year deal with three option-years that could potentially buy out Shields’ first two years of free agency. The deal is potentially worth $39.25 million.

Matt Garza now has 54 starts under his belt and in 2008 showed why he was the top prospect in the Twins organization. With Shields and Scott Kazmir already signed through at least their first free agency season, Garza is the next pitcher that the Rays will target for a long-term deal.

Blessed with what many consider the best stuff on the staff, Garza will be arbitration-eligible following the 2009 season. If the Rays can reach an agreement with Garza on a long-term extension this off-season, it will be for at least 5 years (including options). A five-year deal would buy out Garza’s first year of free agency.

Shields’ deal averages $5.6 million over the life of the deal if all options are exercised. As a super-two following the 2009 season, Garza is a little ahead of where Shields was in terms of service time. On the other hand, Garza does not have the same durable appearance.

Let’s say five years, plus a team option for 2014, which is one year less than Shields’ deal, with an average annual salary of $6 million ($36MM total). Mr. Garza? Mr. Friedman? Good. Do it.

We are only two years removed from a rotation that we often referred to as “Kazmir, Hendrickson and pray for a power outage at the Trop.” Now the Rays may have an opening day rotation in 2009 that includes three first-round draft picks, James Shields and a Volvo (Sonnanstine is safe and dependable).

If the Rays want to remain competitive in the AL East, long-term deals for their young pitchers are a must. Kazmir and Shields have been taken care of. It is Garza’s turn.

On the fifth day of Raysmas, all Rays fans want is a FIVE-year extension for Matt Garza, and…
FOUR pitchers with 15 wins
[Day 4]
THREE Gold Glove awards [Day 3]
TWO months in triple-A for David Price [Day 2]
ONE impact bat with a bow on top [Day 1]



  1. Anonymous says:

    Yeah well first Garza has to get consistent.He goes from throwing a great game throwing a 5 ER game his next start then back to great game and etc.I was actually shocked when he won the 7th game for us after a great start before!And if they do that does that mean were just giving up in Jacob Mcgee after surgery for a starting spot?

  2. Joe D. says:

    I think that's the risk/reward of signing a guy young. You get him a little cheaper, but you have to live with the fact that you don't know if he's going to reach his full potential, or have injury problems (IE: Rocco Baldelli). Conversely the player gets the security of a long term deal, but may have left money on the table. With McGee I guess it's the old adage “you can never have too much pitching”, or “cross that bridge when you get to it”.

    Think of it like this too, McGee is a guy that is still only 22, with an ERA of over 4 with 101IP at AA and a record of 9-6. McGee is also a guy, in most things I've seen, is projected to become a bull pen pitcher.

    I'm not sure that locking up Garza has all that much affect on McGee's future with the Rays.

  3. Anonymous says:

    McGee is most likely looked at as a future set up or closer option in the future. He will most likely be immediately converted to the bullpen when he comes back from TJ surgery. Maddon has already confirmed this. He has always been a 2-pitcher pitcher anyways.

    - bossmanjunior333


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