By: Jim Tsapelas
In an article I posted on October 22, 2015, I wrote, “I believe the Cardinals need to continue to harvest their investment in the often injured Jaime Garcia. It would be wise for the Cardinals to exercise their option in Garcia.”
On Monday, the Cardinals exercised Jaime Garcia’s 2016 option. Garcia shall earn $11.5 million for his work in 2016. Also on Monday, the Cardinals declined Jonathan Broxton’s option; and out righted Pete Kozma, Ed Easley, and Travis Tartamelia; allowing them to file for free agency.
There are currently nine open roster spots on the Cardinals’ Forty Man Roster as Matt Belisle, Randy Choate, Carlos Villanueva, John Lackey, Mark Reynolds, and Jason Hayward all become free agents on Monday.
Garcia is a left-handed pitcher, who rebounded from injuries in the 2015 season, and is one of the better pitchers in MLB. Garcia has been often injured and has spent considerable time on the DL over the past three seasons; including two stints on the DL this year. In 2015, Garcia was 10-6, with an ERA of 2.43; he allowed thirty walks and struck out ninety-seven. In the games which account for Garcia’s six losses, the Cardinals did not provide Garcia any run support in four of the games.
Garcia’s pitch arsenal is comprised of a four seam fastball, sinker, change-up, slider, and curveball. Of note, his pitches feature a lot of late movement. This is why, as a pitcher, he is so exceptional. At the age of twenty-nine, Garcia has a lifetime record of fifty-two wins and thirty-two losses, for a .619 won-loss percentage. Garcia has struck out five hundred seventy-three batters in his MLB career. If you average his strike outs over seven seasons of one hundred sixty-two MLB games, he would have one hundred sixty strike outs per year. I believe his won-loss record would be greater if he had remained healthy during his seven MLB seasons. Garcia missed the entire 2009 season due to injury. In 2010 Garcia was third in the Rookie of the Year balloting behind Buster Posey and Jason Heyward.
There is a general thought in baseball that a pitcher doesn’t reach their full potential until the age of thirty. If Garcia can remain healthy, he may be on the cusp of realizing his full potential.
Garcia is a talented and special pitcher. Keep an eye on his career. We may have an opportunity to witness greatness from him in 2016.
Thanks for reading!