NOV. 2: The Cardinals announced that they have indeed exercised their option on Garcia (Twitter link).
NOV. 1: The Cardinals have informed Jaime Garcia’s representatives that they will be picking up his $11.5MM option for 2016, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. Had the Cardinals declined his option, Garcia would have received a modest $500K buyout.
Garcia’s option wasn’t a given to be picked up, but comments from GM John Mozeliak back in October seemed to hint that the club was leaning in that direction.
“You think back to Garcia, and the impact that he made on our roster was extremely positive,” said Mozeliak. “If we were having this conversation in February, I don’t think any of us would have thought he was going to contribute, especially the way he did.”
Garcia, 29, pitched to a 2.43 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 across 20 big league starts this season. Despite his rough outing in Game 2 of the National League Division Series, the left-hander gave the Cardinals solid pitching overall, no small feat considering that he began the year on the disabled list. As Strauss notes, Garcia’s talent has never really been in question, but his durability has been. Garcia has made more than 30 starts in a season only once (2011) and he took the hill only 16 times between 2013 and 2014.
Garcia’s deal is only guaranteed through 2016, though he could be brought back to St. Louis on a second option year in 2017. Next year, the Cardinals will have the option of retaining Garcia for $12MM or instead buying him out for $500K.