As part of the swap, the Braves will send $100K to cover a piece of Recker’s remaining salary, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. Minnesota is absorbing all of Garcia’s remaining salary, per MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (via Twitter); that represents just over $4.5MM of the original $12MM salary.
While these two clubs had seemingly been nearing a deal involving Garcia just days ago, those talks broke down — at least temporarily — when an issue arose in the medicals of Twins righty Nick Burdi. When that fell through, the southpaw ended up making another start for the Braves. It was a good one, which helped buttress the club’s position, though obviously Atlanta did not have an enormous amount of leverage here.
Garcia is a useful pitcher, to be sure, but no team was going to give big value to get him. That was especially true of a Minnesota organization that is looking to stay in the postseason hunt, but has little interest in mortgaging the future to do so. The Twins have said all along their preference was to add a controllable starter, but perhaps that was going to cost too much in prospect capital. Instead, the team will take on a bit of payroll and give up a far-away prospect to help boost its rotation in the near-term.
While he’s no ace, Garcia will represent a pretty significant improvement for this particular staff. Indeed, he’ll probably slot in as the club’s third-best starter behind Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios. Assuming that Adalberto Mejia will hold a rotation spot and Bartolo Colon will receive at least a few more outings, it seems Kyle Gibson is most likely to lose his rotation spot as a result of the move.
Since arriving over the winter from the Cardinals in a deal that sent young hurlers John Gant, Chris Ellis, and Luke Dykstra to St. Louis, Garcia has largely been a steady presence. He has continued to stay healthy after years of shoulder woes, throwing 113 innings over 18 starts, and has turned in a solid 4.30 ERA. Garcia is carrying only 6.8 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9, but does have an excellent 55.4% groundball rate.
Minnesota also adds Recker, who provides some depth behind the dish. He has received scant MLB action thus far in 2017, but hit quite well last year for Atlanta. Over 156 Triple-A plate appearances thus far in 2017, Recker is slashing .223/.301/.381.
The Braves aren’t likely to make a postseason push, so the club could now safely part with Garcia. Of course, there have also been whispers that Atlanta is looking at adding a controllable starter as soon as this summer. That remains a somewhat low-likelihood proposition, at least as viewed on paper, though it’s worth noting that this deal will free up some finances, which may conceivably aid the team’s efforts to add a pitcher who can be retained past the present season.
Atlanta will also pick up a prospect that has value. Ynoa (the younger brother of Michael Ynoa) just turned 19 years old and has yet to advance out of Rookie ball. This year, he has struggled through just 25 2/3 innings in the Appalachian League, allowing 15 earned runs with 23 strikeouts and 14 walks. MLB.com rates him as the Twins’ 22nd-best overall prospect. Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs, meanwhile, tweets that he sees Ynoa’s upside as at most a #4 type of starter — an outcome that’d be plenty valuable, but perhaps still remains a best-case scenario.
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