Jaime Garcia Rumors
Jaime Garcia will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery on Friday, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman goes on to write that Dr. James Andrews was amazed that Garcia was able to pitch anywhere near as well as he did, as the left-hander has a "30-40 percent tear" of the labrum in his left shoulder. Garcia is in the second year of a four-year, $27.5MM contract that he signed in June 2011. His deal contains a pair of club options as well. Here's more on the Cardinals and the NL Central...
- While Garcia is done for the year, the Cardinals are hopeful that Chris Carpenter can return in July, according to Scott Miller of CBS Sports. Carpenter, who looked all but certain to retire just two months ago, is up to 80 pitches in his intense bullpen sessions. He's yet to face hitters, writes Miller, but there's an outside chance that he could be in the rotation prior to the All-Star break.
- "Let the debate begin," writes ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers, referring to the split opinion among fans on whether or not the Cubs should sign or trade Matt Garza. It's not immediately clear whether or not the Cubs will try to retain Garza, Rogers adds.
- One NL scout who was watching Garza's start against the Pirates last night texted Danny Knobler of CBS Sports and said, "I'd take him NOW." Knobler notes that the scout was half-kidding, as Garza hasn't proven his durability yet, but the right-hander carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning against the Buccos last night.
With one-fourth of the season in the books, let's have a look around some injury situations and how they might impact the developing trade market.
- The Cardinals and Yankees provide an interesting case study as we enter the second quarter of the season. Both have excellent records and lead their division. Both have sizeable payrolls as well as large portions of those payrolls sitting idle on the DL. Both have had to insert players onto their active roster that they did not anticipate. But, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch well explains, the source of those substitute bodies has been drastically different. While the Yankees spent well over $20MM to bring in players like Lyle Overbay, Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, and Vernon Wells -- all of whom are 34 or older -- the Cards reached into their minor league system. Remarkably, St. Louis has plugged all of its holes with players making league minimum, including young pitchers John Gast, Shelby Miller, and Seth Maness.
- The Goold piece also includes some valuable insight from GM John Mozeliak. According to Mozeliak, amongst the team's Double-A and Triple-A rosters, "there is almost at any one position, if we needed help at the big leagues, someone we could call on from there." He acknowledges that such cheap, youthful depth cannot always be achieved, and says the team is prepared to pursue other markets as necessary. "I don't want us to go down the path where we feel like we've created this functional model and don't utilize a really robust pro scouting model that makes sure we understand the trade market and understand the free agent market. We can't be scared of those." Yet, by looking internally first, the team has managed to retain salary flexibility to add outside impact down the line. "This organization's way now of staying healthy is not being tied to those outside markets to fill needs," says Mozeliak. "Having some young players step up like they are now gives us additional flexibility when we're going to need it."
- The Cards' internal depth will once again be put to use with starter Jaime Garcia now staring at a strong possibility of season-ending shoulder surgery, writes Goold. Even with fellow starter Jake Westbrook also stuck on the DL, the team has multiple options among its current relief corps and Triple-A rotation that make a look outside the organization unlikely. Of course, it remains to be seen whether Garcia's replacement(s) can match his strong start to the year. He had thrown 55 1/3 innings of 3.58 ERA baseball to open the season. Veteran starter Chris Carpenter is increasingly shaping up as a viable mid-season option for the club. But any setback in his surprising recovery, or hiccups among the team's young hurlers, could lead St. Louis to consider eventually utilizing some of its salary reserves and young minor league depth in a trade.
- The Braves are another National League contender dealing with injured arms. As Matt Snyder of CBSSports.com's Matt Snyder writes, Eric O'Flaherty appears likely to join fellow setup man Jonny Venters as a season-ending Tommy John patient. While the team seems likely to utilize internal options to fill in for the present, the loss of its two late-inning lefties leaves the team with just one southpaw in the pen, Luis Avilan. Ultimately, then, Atlanta could be forced to explore the trade market to re-establish its depth as the season wears on.
- Teams shopping for starters at the trade deadline appear likely to find a limited supply of attractive arms, says ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider subscription required). Two Cubs pitchers headline the developing market, with Scott Feldman shaping up as the surprise top option at the moment. (Matt Garza, of course, will begin his potential audition on Tuesday.) In addition to several other well-documented trade candidates in Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins and the Astros' Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell, Olney pegs the Padres' Jason Marquis and Edinson Volquez as likely available. Meanwhile, Bartolo Colon of the Athletics and Cliff Lee of the Phillies could also be dealt, writes Olney, with the A's having other internal options and the Phils still weighing how to proceed with their excellent (but expensive) 35-year-old co-ace.
Hall of Fame and Cardinal icon Stan Musial passed away yesterday at the age of 92. Today, tributes are pouring in ranging from fans outside the Stan the Man statue at Busch Stadium (St. Louis Post-Dispatch video) to the White House (h/t MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch). Daniel Solzman of Redbirdrants.com even suggests the Cardinals name the playing field at Busch Stadium in honor of Musial. The Cardinals are holding their 17th annual fanfest this weekend and, while the Musial official memorabilia booth was closed today in tribute to the St. Louis legend, players still made their appearances and made some news.
- Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. says the club is prepared to increase payroll in the coming years, tweets Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Goold adds the 2013 payroll is around $115MM.
- Adam Wainwright, who is entering the final year of his contract, admitted the Cardinals approached him about a contract extension during the final month of this past regular season, Goold reports. Wainwright said he wanted to focus on the playoff stretch and "it wasn’t going to hurt my case to just wait it out and see where some of these guys signed."
- On the upcoming Wainwright extension talks, Goold, within the same piece, quoted GM John Mozeliak as saying, "It’s going to be long. It’s going to be expensive."
- Wainwright has become a mentor to pitching prospect Shelby Miller, Goold writes in a separate article. Miller, who will compete for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, says he doesn't know what he was thinking last offseason when he "was trying to be a beach bod" with his workout regimen. Miller's performance suffered and the club questioned the right-hander's conditioning. Enter Wainwright who exchanged texts with Miller throughout the season and challenged him to reach training camp at a weight that would help his strength and durability.
- While Miller has gained enough pounds to reach his playing weight, Jake Westbrook's outlook on the offseason is to copy last year's regimen in hopes of slimming down, writes Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. "It worked out so well last year that I thought I would just do it again," Westbrook said.
- The injury reports on Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, and Rafael Furcal are positive, according to Langosch.
- Mozeliak says second base is Daniel Descalso's "job to lose," but he is open-minded about Matt Carpenter making a push for playing time there, writes Langosch.
- Mike Matheny told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he only became the Cardinals' manager because of losses he sustained in a failed real estate venture. A Missouri judge recently ruled Matheny and his wife owe more than $4MM from that deal plus interest and court costs. Matheny will earn $750K in the final guaranteed year of his contract.
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.
The Cardinals announced that they signed Jaime Garcia to a four-year deal with two club options, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN). Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the deal is worth $27.5MM in guaranteed money (Twitter link). Michael Golde of KTRS 550 AM first tweeted a rumor of the Garcia extension last Thursday, with the contract details included.
Garcia, 25, is enjoying another fine season with a 3.22 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9, and 54.5% groundball rate in 117 1/3 innings. He was set to become arbitration eligible for the first time after the season, so it appears that the contract covers his three arbitration years (2012-14) and his first free agent year, with options on two additional free agent years. Garcia is represented by Melvin Roman of MDR Sports Management, having made a change this year.
The deal falls a bit short of the contracts earlier this year for Clay Buchholz and Trevor Cahill, which also featured a pair of club options. Keep in mind that Garcia's first-year arbitration earning power would have been limited by time missed due to '09 Tommy John surgery.
The Brewers acquired C.C. Sabathia on this date in 2008. The left-hander strung together one dominant outing after another and led Milwaukee to its first postseason series since 1982. Here's the latest from the NL Central as we await this summer's first blockbuster deal...
- When asked about the possibility of signing a contract extension with the Cardinals, Jaime Garcia told B.J. Rains of FOXSportsMidwest.com (on Twitter): "I'm not saying yes or no, but if something is going on, when the time comes, you guys will find out."
- Now that he has made an exceptionally quick return from the disabled list, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols looms as the biggest potential difference-maker in the division, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains.
- Manager Clint Hurdle told Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the Pirates discussed some external options yesterday, when management met to determine its plan for summer roster moves.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he isn’t going to make moves for the sake of shaking things up.
- Fay points out that someone named Zack Cozart is registered at the Reds’ team hotel (Twitter link). Though it could be a coincidence, it seems likely that the shortstop prospect is getting the call to the big leagues.
Jaime Garcia switched agents earlier this year and Melvin Roman of MDR Sports now represents the Cardinals’ left-hander, the agency confirmed. Agent Bobby Barad, Garcia's previous representative, has also lost Robinson Cano and Jorge de la Rosa since leaving TWC Sports, as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted on Twitter.
Garcia has a 3.20 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 through 81 2/3 innings this year. With the exception of one ugly start at Coors Field in late May, Garcia has been consistently effective. The 24-year-old will be arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason and I projected his 2012 earnings at $3-4MM earlier in the season.
If Jaime Garcia keeps pitching like this, David Price and Clayton Kershaw won’t be the only first-time arbitration eligible left-handers worth following this offseason. Garcia, the third-place finisher in last year’s National League Rookie of the Year balloting, enters tonight's start leading the league in wins and shutouts and third in the Senior Circuit with a 1.89 ERA.
The 24-year-old has thrown 300 fewer innings than Kershaw and 175 fewer frames than Price, so his salary doesn’t figure to approach $6MM in 2012, as theirs might. Tommy John surgery sidelined the Cardinals lefty in 2009, so he trails some other first-time arbitration eligible pitchers in important categories like wins, innings and strikeouts.
However, Garcia doesn’t compare well with Shaun Marcum and Francisco Liriano, who are also veterans of Tommy John surgery. Both pitchers entered the arbitration process for the first time with little leverage, as their respective platform years were poor (Marcum missed the 2009 season and Liriano's '09 campaign was a dud).
Garcia, on the other hand, figures to have lots of positives on his side this winter. He's 5-0 with an ERA under 2.00 and four times as many strikeouts as walks. Throw in an All-Star appearance, some postseason success or some Cy Young votes and his case would become even stronger. If he stays healthy, he’ll earn far, far more than what Liriano ($1.6MM) and Marcum ($850K) earned their first time through arbitration.
Jordan Zimmermann, another Tommy John veteran who will go to arbitration for the first time this winter, doesn't measure up to Garcia in terms of career numbers, and isn't off to the same blazing start. On the other hand, Max Scherzer has pitched tremendously (6-0, 3.20 ERA, 51 Ks) so far and figures to have a stronger case than Garcia this winter because of the superior length and consistency of his career contribution.
Looking back a year, there's Phil Hughes, who was born just two weeks before Garcia. He's another starter who went to arbitration without impressive ‘bulk’ stats. It won’t be easy, but Garcia could match the 31 career wins, 369 innings and 323 strikeouts Hughes had after 2010. And given his current pace, the Cardinals lefty could finish with a markedly better ERA, both for his career and his platform season (Hughes had a career 4.20 ERA after last year). That would help push Garcia’s 2012 earnings beyond Hughes’ current $2.7MM salary.
There's no way Garcia will match the 51 wins or 671 2/3 innings Jered Weaver had when he went to arbitration for the first time, so Garcia can likely forget about a $4.365MM salary. But his career 2.72 ERA is a full run better than the 3.73 mark Weaver had after 2009, which will help Garcia and his representatives at TWC Sports.
There’s little point in getting overly precise with arbitration predictions when so much of the season lies ahead, but it’s clear that Garcia could earn $3-4MM in 2012. Definite success for a pitcher who missed an entire season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
Let's dive into the latest edition of Full Count from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..
- It's early in the season, but it already seems like the Giants' Mark DeRosa could be the odd man out in San Francisco. DeRosa is obviously versatile, but the club seems to be set at shortstop, second base, third, and in the outfield. The veteran is earning $6MM and he seems like a prime candidate to be traded.
- The Rangers are off to a hot start but the club is concerned about their lack of a dominant right-handed set-up man. Alexi Ogando was supposed to fill that role but instead, he's flourishing as a starter. Darren O'Day is coming off two strong seasons but he's viewed as more of a "seventh inning guy". Because of that, look for Texas to target a strong right-handed reliever before the deadline.
- The next young starters in line for contract extensions might be the A's Gio Gonzalez and the Cardinals' Jaime Garcia following the deals given to Trevor Cahill and Clay Buchholz. However, Gonzalez is a Super Two player, meaning that the A's might have to guarantee him another year to cover his first year of free agency.
With a 4-13 record over their last 17 games, an eight-game deficit to make up in the NL Central, and a weekend series against an in-form Cincinnati club, the Cardinals could be looking ahead to next year by as soon as Monday. Let's get a head start on the process by examining what the St. Louis starting rotation may look like by Opening Day 2011.
Leading the way for the Cards are Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia. Carpenter is signed through 2011 and St. Louis has a club option worth $15MM in 2012 that they're certain to exercise if Carpenter remains as healthy and effective as he has been over the last two seasons. It's possible the Cards could explore an extension with Carpenter this winter, if they're not already too busy trying to extend Albert Pujols.
Wainwright seems well on his way to a top-five finish (at least) in the NL Cy Young voting, which will trigger a clause in his contract that guarantees the 2012 and 2013 club options St. Louis currently holds on the right-hander. Wainwright is set to earn $21MM over those two seasons, plus an extra $1MM should he actually win the Cy either this season or in 2011. The Cards were a virtual lock to pick up those team options anyway given how well Wainwright has pitched in his career.
If Wainwright is a bargain, then Garcia is a steal. The 24-year-old southpaw has a 2.33 ERA and a 2.03 K/BB in 25 starts this season and he carries a 20 1/3 scoreless inning streak into tonight's start against the Reds. Garcia doesn't reach arbitration until after the 2011 season, so he will remain a very affordable option for St. Louis unless the club tries to cover his arb years with a long-term deal. It's still just Garcia's first full major league year, so if the Redbirds do approach him with a long-term contract, it will be a step down from the Romero/Lester/Gallardo deals.
When Kyle Lohse signed a four-year, $41MM extension with St. Louis in September 2008, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes prophetically asked, "What are the odds this deal looks solid even halfway through?" Now that we're about halfway through the deal, it's indeed looking like a miss for the Cards. Lohse has battled forearm and groin injuries over the last two seasons and has a 5.55 ERA in 35 games (34 of them starts) over that stretch. Lohse will be pencilled into a spot in the 2011 rotation, since it would be hard for the Cardinals to eat the remaining $23.75MM owed to the right-hander and even harder to trade him. (Plus, Lohse has a no-trade clause.)
With four spots accounted for, the fifth rotation job is wide-open. The Cards' strategy over the last few winters has been to sign veterans (Rich Hill, Brad Penny, Matt Clement, Lohse in March 2008) to one-year or minor league contracts to see if pitching coach Dave Duncan can get them back into top form, so the team could pursue that option again. St. Louis might have gotten a head start on this strategy with the acquisition of Jake Westbrook at the trade deadline. Westbrook has pitched well (4.03 ERA, 5.67 K/BB ratio) in his first six National League starts, so he will come at a higher price than those other past winter signings should the Cardinals want to bring him back.
Another midseason pick-up, Jeff Suppan, hasn't performed as well and would only be brought back as roster depth. Penny could be another low-cost veteran option from the current roster. After signing a one-year, $7.5MM deal with the Cards last December, Penny had a solid first nine starts but hasn't pitched since May due to a back injury. The lingering nature of what was originally thought to be a minor back injury will definitely scare some teams away from the 32-year-old, so the Cardinals (who have been monitoring Penny's status all year) could bring the right-hander back if they're satisifed that he's healthy.
P.J. Walters, Blake Hawksworth and Adam Ottavino have started games for St. Louis this season, though all would need superb spring training performances to get into the running for the fifth starter's job. Baseball America projected Walters as a future middle reliever in the preseason, Hawksworth has pitched mostly out of the bullpen for St. Louis and Ottavino may be a question mark for the spring since he needs labrum surgery.
Shelby Miller, the top prospect in the St. Louis system, has only increased his stock in his first full season of pro ball. Miller, the 19th overall pick in the 2009 draft, has a 3.62 ERA and a 12.1 K/9 rate in 24 starts for Single-A Quad Cities. Baseball America had Miller rated as the 50th-best prospect in baseball in the preseason, and their midseason prospect report again slotted him in the #26-50 range. Miller doesn't even turn 20 until October 10, so the Cards will probably hold off his major league debut until 2012.
Other farm system options include southpaw Evan MacLane and right-handers Lance Lynn and Brandon Dickson, all of whom have had solid seasons in the hitter-friendly Triple-A Pacific Coast League. All could factor in as spot starters or candidates for the No. 5 position. Keep an eye on right-hander Scott Gorgen, a fourth-round pick from the 2008 draft who has a 2.99 ERA in his 49-game minor league career thus far, including a 1.31 ERA in 10 games (eight starts) at Double-A this season.
Now that Matt Holliday's mega-contract is all but official, the Cardinals have approximately $6-7MM left in their budget according to MLB.com's Matthew Leach. The team must now figure out how to allocate those funds, because they still have to address third base and the back of the rotation, plus the bullpen and bench."It's a great question and one that I don't know the answer to today," (GM John) Mozeliak said on Thursday when asked what comes next. "[Assistant GM John] Abbamondi, myself, Jeff [Luhnow, scouting director and farm director] and the group will sit down tomorrow. I'll then also get with Tony [La Russa, manager] over the weekend and we'll kind of prioritize what we think, if we had a bullet to use, what would we use it on. Once we get to that point, then we'll look at what's out there and how to use that resource if it's there. We may stand pat. But we'll see."
As Leach points out, the Cardinals do have in-house options at third (David Freese) and the fifth starter's spot (Jaime Garcia, Mitchell Boggs, Blake Hawksworth), though the bench - particularly a lefty hitter - is an area the team will have to go outside of the organization to upgrade.
We've seen names like Miguel Tejada, Joe Crede, and Felipe Lopez mentioned as possible fits for the Cardinals in recent weeks.