Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster

At the trade deadline in 2012, the Texas Rangers’ front office recognized the need for pitching after Neftali Feliz and Colby Lewis had season-ending injuries. Before the trade deadline in 2013, with those two still out in addition to Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando, the front office recognized the need for pitching again. In 2012, Ryan Dempster made the transition to the Texas Ranger from the Chicago Cubs. In 2013, Matt Garza did the same. 

In 2012, Ryan Dempster was having a great season for the Cubs, and always the Cubs weren’t in contention for playoffs. The Rangers had already gotten his battery mate, Geovany Soto, and acquired Dempster minutes before the trade deadline. He had a 2.25 ERA with 104 innings pitched and 81 hits during his 2012 Cubs season. He recorded a 3.5 rWAR before leaving in July. The need for the Rangers to get a pitcher with a season like that was very apparent. Jon Daniels did his job, so it was time for Ryan Dempster to do his.

In 2013, Jon Daniels and company grabbed the best option on the trade market in Matt Garza, who was also having a good season for the again last place Chicago Cubs. Garza recorded a 3.17 ERA with 71 innings pitched and 61 hits. His rWAR was a respectable 1.6 as a Cub. With the majority of the starting pitching staff on the disabled list and rookie pitchers who weren’t ready to be in the majors, Garza was almost a necessity for the Rangers.

Now, lets play a game. Which one is Ryan Dempster (through his first 10 starts), Texas Ranger, and which is Matt Garza (only has 10 starts), Texas Ranger?
4.46 1.230 66.2 65 .257 .736
4.48 1.348 60.1 61 .265 .762
Neither Dempster nor Garza had the impact one had hoped they would after their respective starts of their seasons as Cubs. If you guessed the top row is Garza, you are correct. Garza has been better than Dempster was, but not by much, and both have underwhelmed. However, the Rangers are 6-4 in Matt Garza starts. They were 8-2 in Dempster’s first 10. (That means they’re aces, right?)

While Garza has been very Dempster-esque in his time as a Texas Rangers, the expectation that he would come in and dominate was wrong. His attitude and high emotion gives off the vibe of total dominance and greatness. However, Matt Garza isn’t that at all. He’s a 3rd or 4th starter with good pitches. He’s also very efficient. Going at least 7 innings in all but one of his starts. Keeps the bullpen rested, and usually keeps the team in the game. He’s a good pitcher, who hasn’t shown his best as a Ranger, but he could at any moment.
Emily Cates is a Staff Writer for Shutdown Inning. You can reach her at or  on Twitter at @EmLikesBaseball.
Emily Cates

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