Joe Nathan remembers when Matt Garza came up through the Minnesota Twins organization, and was impressed by the work ethic a young, hard-throwing right-hander had at an early age.
A.J. Pierzynski has faced Garza several times throughout his career, and recalled it always being a tough at-bat. Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker were teammates of Garza with the Chicago Cubs for a few seasons, and know the passion and competitiveness that he plays with.
There was no shortage of excitement in the Rangers clubhouse when news of the team acquiring Garza broke.
"He's going to be great here," Soto said. "A lot of energy when he gets the ball, always wants to win, gives you 110 percent all the time. He's a true professional and likes to win. He'll be a great fit."
Said Baker: "From playing with him, I'm ecstatic he's going to be a part of the team going forward and part of the stretch run. He's one of the most competitive people I've played with, and busts his tail between starts. He's awesome. He brings a vibe and an energy to the dugout whenever he's not pitching, too."
Said Pierzynski: "I remember facing him when he was with Tampa, just bringing it and coming right after you. He's just a good pitcher. It’s never fun at-bats because he had a lot of weapons to get you out, and in the back of your mind you know, this guy can be a little bit crazy and let one go. … Can’t wait for him to get here."
Said Nathan: "I know how good he is, I know how good his stuff is. His work ethic is off the charts. We're excited, he's another guy who is a front-line starter and loves to win, loves to compete."
The acquistion was widely welcomed by everybody, although it's always difficult for teammates to see other players go. The Rangers had to give up right-handers Justin Grimm and C.J. Edwards, as well as infielder Mike Olt and a player to be named, for Garza.
For Robbie Ross, it was tough to see Grimm leave. Ross and Grimm were roommates this season, and had come up through the Rangers' farm system together. Ross compared it to when another one of his close friends, Joe Wieland, was part of the Mike Adams trade two years ago.
"Oh yeah, it's tough," Ross said. "He's been a great friend, but it's a good opportunity for him. I would've loved to play with him here, but I think he's going to do great over there."
-- Drew Davison