Should we be concerned this move happened on Halloween, St. Louis Cardinals fans?
"The Cardinals have elected to exercise their 2016 team option on left-handed pitcher Jaime Garcia, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Saturday night. The club has not confirmed that decision. By picking up the option, St. Louis would pay Garcia $11.5 million next season, rather than a $500,000 buyout. The club also holds a separate $12 million option (with $500,000 buyout) for 2017."
According to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, Garcia apparently did just enough in 2015 to buy himself one more year with the St. Louis Cardinals. Now we must hold our collective breath and hope the mercurial lefty doesn’t flake out on us again.
Although Garcia has yet to pitch 200 innings in a season, our own Chris Greene is thrilled. Esteemed St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Joe Strauss is, too, per his recent column. Garcia’s resurgent regular season (let’s forget the postseason, shall we?), in which he filled in more than capably for the injured Adam Wainwright in 20 starts, was enough to make up for all the ill will the lefhander had sewn over the last three or four years. From Strauss’ column:
"Garcia, you see, has never inspired questions regarding talent. But he has forever been asource of distrust, whether due to obsessive tendencies that derailed him earlier in his career or repetitive, sometimes unusual injuries that led some in the organization to theorize Garcia might be the game’s most gifted hypochondriac."
He still may be a hypochondriac, and the organization still may have issues about his toughness, mentally more than physically. It’s hard to see how a player/team relationship can come back from this.
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The truth about Garcia probably lies somewhere in the middle. The
fact is that modern medical technology can tell us more about our bodies than ever before, with better and more accurate information that can actually help athletes perform better longer. As Strauss noted in his column, Garcia’s decision to have season-ending thoracic outlet syndrome procedure last July looks as if it was the right call now.
The truth is we won’t know for sure until the end of next season. If Garcia stays off the disabled list and pitches like he’s capable of, then yes, he made the right call. But if he goes down with more shoulder problems — and he has a long history of those — the Cardinals need to end this toxic relationship for good.
For now, though, I’m with Greene and Strauss. I like how Mozeliak hedged his bets, giving Garcia props for what hed done for the team this year and picking up just one of his two options. The Cardinals general manager knows better than most that the heretofore unreliable 29-year-old still has a high upside.