The Braves acquired Freddy Garcia from the Orioles in late August in a trade that generated few headlines, yet the veteran right-hander posted a 1.65 ERA in 27 1/3 September innings (three relief appearances, three starts). Now, Garcia will take the mound to save Atlanta's season in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw, who is starting on short rest for the first time in his career.
Here are some notes from around the NL East…
- The bullpen was a disappointment for the Nationals in 2013 and improving the relief corps "is one of the Nationals' biggest offseason priorities," James Wagner of the Washington Post writes. The Nats will particularly be looking for left-handed relief help. Wagner suggests that the team could possibly trade setup man Tyler Clippard due to his rising price tag in the arbitration process. Clippard earned $4MM last season and has two more years of arb-eligibility remaining.
- Larry Bowa is close to a deal to become the Phillies' new bench coach, CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury reports. Bowa managed the Phillies from 2001-04, was a coach with the team from 1989-96 and played in Philadelphia from 1970-81, winning five Gold Gloves and winning a World Series in 1980. Bowa and new Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg were actually traded together from the Phils to the Cubs in 1982.
- Marlins third base prospect Zack Cox is profiled by MLB.com's Bernie Pleskoff, who writes that Cox needs to show some consistency in 2014. Cox was taken by the Cardinals with the 25th overall pick of the 2010 draft, then traded to the Marlins for Edward Mujica at the 2012 deadline. Cox was ranked as amongst the top 100 prospects in the sport by Baseball America before the 2011 and 2012 seasons, though he has struggled over the last two years and has been surpassed by Colin Moran as Miami's third baseman of the future.
- This season, the Mets became the first Major League team to work with KinaTrax, a company that tracks pitchers' bio-mechanics via motion-capture technology, Metsblog.com's Matthew Cerrone writes. The purpose is to gather information on how their pitchers' mechanics develop over time, so the Mets can better evaluate their long-term health. The Orioles and Brewers are the only other MLB clubs investing in bio-mechanical evaluations of their players.
- Aaron Harang is a good fit for the Mets on a one-year deal, Metsblog.com's Michael Baron opines. Harang is the type of veteran pitcher that the Mets seem likely to pursue on a short-term contract, as MLBTR's Jeff Todd wrote in his Offseason Outlook entry on the Mets earlier today.