The Cardinals have exercised Jaime Garcia‘s contract option for 2017.
For the second straight season, the St. Louis Cardinals have evaluated the upcoming free agent starting pitching market and decided that it’s a worthwhile investment to pick up the option on lefty start Jaime Garcia. The team picked up Garcia’s $12 million-dollar option for 2017, on Thursday, the same day that they signed manager Mike Matheny to a three-year contract extension.
After a 2015 season in which he was one of the best lefthanded starters in baseball, Garcia had a very up-and-down 2016 campaign. He was quite solid during the first two months of the season, posting a 3.47 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 10 starts. But after a disastrous June (5.40 ERA and 1.76 WHIP over 28 1/3 innings), the wheels seemed to fall off on Garcia’s season. He posted a 5.60 ERA and 1.42 WHIP over 70 2/3 second-half innings, and he was demoted to the bullpen in September.
John Mozeliak said after the season on 101 ESPN’s Bernie Miklasz Show that he didn’t see Garcia as a realistic candidate for the rotation in 2017. Provided that hasn’t changed, the Cardinals could dangle the lefty as a trade candidate this offseason, or perhaps they could consider him as a very expensive replacement for Zach Duke in the bullpen.
With a disastrous starting pitching market that is expected to be headlined by free agents Bartolo Colon, Rich Hill, and Colby Lewis, though, Garcia could be a hot commodity with teams looking to upgrade their rotations this winter. It’s a gamble for the Cardinals, but they could be rewarded with compensation for a player that might not actually be in their 2017 plans anyway.