Yimi Garcia’s appearance in the Blue Jays’ 3-2 loss to the Angels today marked the right-hander’s 49th game of the season, and his 110th game of his two seasons with Toronto. As a result, Garcia triggered a vesting option in his contract that now guarantees him a $6MM salary in 2024. The Jays had previously held a $5MM club option on Garcia for 2024, with a $1MM buyout.
The contract news provides some silver lining to an otherwise forgettable day for Garcia, as he allowed a two-run homer to Hunter Renfroe in the tenth inning that ended up being the game’s deciding run. It was a blemish on what has otherwise been a solid season for Garcia, who turns 33 in August. Garcia entered Sunday’s action with a 4.30 ERA over 44 innings, though a .369 BABIP may be responsible for that inflated ERA, as his SIERA is a far more impressive 3.01.
Though Garcia has had a few high-profile meltdowns this season, he has largely gotten back on track after a much shakier opening. With a 6.46 ERA over his first 23 2/3 frames, Garcia then rebounded for a 1.77 ERA in his next 20 2/1 innings. For 2023 as a whole, Garcia’s advanced metrics are quite strong, as he ranks above the league average in just about every Statcast category. His 5.2% walk rate is the highlight, ranking Garcia in the 90th percentile of all pitchers.
Toronto signed Garcia to a two-year, $11MM free agent deal in the 2021-22 offseason, which now becomes a three-year/$17MM pact due to the vested option. Given his success thus far in 2023, it was becoming increasingly likely that the Jays would’ve exercised that club option anyway, but now Garcia is locked into a guaranteed salary for next season. Several other Jays relievers are also controlled through at least 2024, though not via a guaranteed contract — the likes of Jordan Romano, Erik Swanson, Trevor Richards, Tim Mayza, and Genesis Cabrera are all still in their arbitration years.