Thursday, March 22, 2007


What's next? Freddy Garcia flies back to Philadelphia for a routine exam?

Every single report out of Florida about the veteran right-hander suggests his fastball continues to be MIA. What's troubling about this state of affairs is that the reports are identical to those from the end of last season. When White Sox GM Kenny Williams traded Garcia to the Phils it was generally believed to be because the 31-year old pitcher was in his final year prior to free agency, had a lot of mileage on his arm and would bring two prospects in return in that order. It now appears number two was really number one.

Yesterday Garcia left action after one inning complaining of a sore bicep that will be examined. During his brief stint his fastball apparently topped out at 85 miles per hour. The last thing the Phillies need is another Jamie Moyer-type pitcher in the starting rotation. According to Jim Salisbury, there is a chance Garcia might begin the season on the DL. Among other repercussions of such a move, Jon Lieber, who only yesterday was sent to the pen, would reclaim his spot among the starters. If Pat Gillick were considering trading Lieber for bullpen or outfield help he can forget it.

The worst aspect of all of this is that it would appear Gillick didn't do his homework, a pattern that is becoming all too familiar. More and more it appears Gillick acts as much on hunches as on anything else in making personnel moves. All that we need now would be for him to trade Aaron Rowand back to Chicago.

Oh the ironies.


Oisín/Wizlah said...

Have to disagree tom. Freddy Garcia the pitcher spent 2005 and 2006 with very low k rates per 9 innings (5.76 and 5.62 respectively). What has happened, year on year, has been a progressive reduction of BB's per 9 2003-06 (3.17; 2.74; 2.39; 2.00). Garcia has been progressively changing his game to be a control pitcher, perhaps because he knew all along that the high velocity of his earlier years and the 200+ IP workload couldn't co-exist. I think gillick knew exactly what he was getting when he traded for him - a younger, less homerun prone, fitter version of lieber who could be a guaranteed #2/#3 quality workhorse. and now he's down, we've got lieber to step in. I see no reason for complaint here.

RickSchuBlues said...

On the other hand, I see plenty of reason for complaint. I won't go so far as to say the Sox knew they were trading damaged goods, but I will say they knew they had a pitcher either in decline or clearly on the verge of it. His stuff has deteriorated over the years, and no matter how you crunch the numbers, this guy hasn't been 'ace' material since 2001. In the meantime, the situation with Lieber and Eaton is nothing less than a charade. It's unbelievable that a major league baseball team is so incompetent as to let a veteran player dangle in the wind as long as they have with Lieber. As he says himself - 'if you don't think I can win, or help the team, then let's move on.' Exactly! If you don't want him - then trade him! You're telling me no other team wants a guy who's a season removed from 17 wins? What the hell is going on here?

Tom Goodman said...

I posted an elaboration of my skepticism as a comment over at Beerleaguer and was roasted for being such a pessimist and for ignoring Garcia's record over the final portion of the 2006 season. Well, sometimes the numbers do lie. He is in decline and won't be able to get by very long in either league with an 85 mph fastball. Worse, he won't be throwing any kind of balls, fast or slow, with a bum arm. He is at that stage of his career where the arm begins to balk at all of those 200+ innings per season. Let me ask those who think he's fine the following question: if his ERA stands at 0.00 at the end of April because he didn't pitch, will the statistics tell the whole story then?

Jason Weitzel sent me an email in which he said "You don't trade aces for pitchers like Gavin Floyd and Gonzalez." I agree, even if those "aces" are in the final year of their big contract before free agency. If Garcia recovers and this is just a blip, great. Rather than eat crow I, too, will rejoice. But I am not preparing to do either at this time, eat or rejoice.

Oisín/Wizlah said...

The thing we were looking for in *this pitcher* was not in decline (i.e. the control and the innings pitched). The decrease in velocity has been an ongoing issue for a long time. Seriously - '05 and '06 his k rate is down from '04. And look at the years before '04 - his k rate is decidedly spotty. The thing which has improved has been the control. The IP has stayed about the same and his Home Run rate spikes at about 1.3 but doesn't go over 1.4.

There was never anything flashy about Garcia. I realise that saying 'I never thought we got an ace' isn't the same as saying the phillies don't think we got an ace. Like I said before - we got a younger version of Lieber, w/o the tommy john, and without the outstanding walk rate - just a good one.

And RSB - I'm sorry, but if the market ain't offering you any value for Lieber, then don't trade with the market. He can help the team whether its in relief or starting. His low walk rate is an asset in the bullpen.

I'm still smarting from how little was got for abreu. Talk was at the time that we couldn't have got anymore because there was only one interested party and we gave indications that we *had* to shift him. If so, Gillick has done the right thing by saying 'he's our asset, we'll do with him as we see fit for the length of the contract' and NOT giving signals that he needs to be traded come what may. And that *is* in the interest of the team because if lieber is traded, it should be for good value.

That is what's going on here. folk have been trying to get him for cut rate price, I think. If I was to hazard a guess, they're trying to do so on the basis of his age, and the fact that they're trading for a one year rental at 37.

kuff6 said...

Completely unfounded speculation here, but maybe concern about Garcia's arm was why Gillick did not sign him to an extension right when we traded for him? I, for one, was very surprised at the time of the trade that an extension was not announced at the same time.

Tom Goodman said...

kuff6: I would suspect Garcia was going to wait no matter what because he is a free agent after this season and based on what guys like Eaton were commanding this past off-season, a healthy Garcia could conceivably make an even bloodier fortune!! That's always the gamble, isn't it? Sign now for guaranteed money or wait to test the market and take your chances on a good season and good health.