Worst Case: Garcia spends most of 2016 on the DL, Cardinals decline his 2017 option
Imagine, Garcia comes into Spring Training and all signs point to him being healthy and ready to go. All of a sudden, poof — he’s injured again.
Initial diagnosis says Garcia will be out for only two to four weeks. But that turns into two months. Garcia comes back and makes about five starts before another injury creeps up and he’s shelved on the disabled list for the rest of the season.
Have you heard this story before? It’s a depressing scenario to think about, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility — not with Garcia.
Since 2012, Garcia has averaged just 14 starts and 89.1 IP per season. Not exactly the most durable numbers for a starting pitcher. I’ll give Garcia credit, though. The 29-year old has managed to work his way back from thoracic outlet syndrome and a surgery that involved the removal of a rib. Former Cardinal great Chris Carpenter had the same injury and surgery and couldn’t manage a comeback, as he retired at the end of the 2013 season.
Carpenter didn’t quite have age on his side like Garcia does, but we all know how tough the former ace was. So, to see Garcia push through the surgery and come back the way that he did last season is pretty remarkable.
Another injury plagued season would likely be the final nail in the coffin for Garcia’s career in St. Louis, though. It simply wouldn’t make any sense for the Cardinals to pick up his $12M option for 2017 or anything beyond that. Not to mention, the Cardinals have young starters like Alex Reyes, Tim Cooney, Marco Gonzales and more waiting for a shot in the Majors. At that point, the Cardinals would certainly be looking to give those young guys their chance while sending Garcia off to brave the waters of free agency.
So, what is my prediction for Garcia this season?
Next: My Prediction for Garcia