You know when people leave ridiculous statements in your yearbook like “what a long and strange journey it’s been.” It’s supposed to be a deep statement that reflects all the twists and turns during a set time period.
For Freddy Garcia, it’s more than a cliche. Garcia was acquired Friday from the Orioles for cash, which was surprising on two fronts. One, I had no earthly clue Garcia was still toiling around somewhere and two, when did the Braves start trading cash for anyone? For the time being, Garcia was sent to Gwinnett to continue a decent run in the International League he has had this season. If he is is promoted – which is likely – the Braves will be his seventh major league club he has pitched for. That doesn’t include the Mets (two starts at AAA in 2009), a failed attempt to make the Padres roster this season, and the team that originally signed him, the Houston Astros.
A long time ago, the Mariners acquired Garcia, Carlos Guillen, and John Halama for “The Big Unit” Randy Johnson. A year later, Garcia finished a tremendous rookie season that helped him finish second in the AL 1999 Rookie of the Year voting. Seattle couldn’t lock him up to an extension and sent him at the White Sox at the 2004 deadline for a trio of players, including Mike Morse. After the 2006 season, the White Sox were in a similar position as the Mariners in 2004 and decided to send Garcia away rather than give him an extension. He went to the Philies for Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez. Since then, he has been regularly described as “pending free agent.”
After failing to make the Padres roster in spring training, the O’s signed him and after a good month in the minors, they promoted him for an one-and-a-half month run where he struggled mightily with a 5.77 ERA, 6.71 FIP, and an asinine 2.7 HR/9. It was more of the same from his woeful 2012 season. He actually was quite successful for the Yankees in 2011 and posted a 2 WAR, but beyond that, Garcia has been fairly awful since 2007, though a good deal of injuries haven’t helped.
Garcia can throw up to six pitches, but relies most on his sinker. Despite that, he has never been that gifted at inducing groundballs. Think of him as a sucky Derek Lowe. Or Derek Lowe.
The only value Garcia has is that you just don’t give a damn about him. He’s Paul Maholm, but worse. The Braves can throw him out there and rest pitchers they actually care about. Whether he comes in as a reliever or starts a few games in September, he doesn’t have a prayer of reaching the postseason roster. He sucks, we know he sucks, he knows he sucks…but he’s getting a prorated vetern minimum so what does he care? And the Braves have another veteran arm they have no desire to have back in 2014 so what do they care?
Watch him be lights out for two weeks in September now.
And when the hell do we talk about this additive need to grab every possible spelling of Freddy (or Fredi (or Freddie))? Will the Braves go simple and sign a Fred next? Wonder what Fred McGriff is up to? Maybe the Braves will branch out with Astros pitcher Frederick Tiburcio, currently in rookie ball. Or stay in rookie ball and grab Frederis Parra from the Cardinals? Sadly, Alfredo Aceves is on the DL for Boston.