Feb 24, 2014; Lake Buena Vistas, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Gus Schlosser (73) poses for a pitcure at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Freddy Garcia Released


Mar 14, 2014; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Freddy Garcia (34) in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I did not see this coming.

 

 

BREAKING:  The Atlanta Braves are releasing starting pitcher Freddy Garcia, allowing him to become a free agent and pursue other options elsewhere.

Given the dearth of starting pitching – particularly experienced starting pitching, this is indeed a surprise.  Garcia has pitched well this Spring – very well, in fact.  He had one hiccup start, but that could easily be attributed to the fact that his wife was in active labor at the time, and indeed gave birth while he was racing down the coast after his day ended.

Overall, he was 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in 5 starts and 17 innings.  He walked 6 and K’d 14 with a .212 batting average against.  In that lone poor start, he was said to be getting ‘squeezed’ by the home plate umpire as well, so there were actually multiple factors leading to that outing’s results.

On Sunday, he rebounded well, with 5.1 innings of 2 hit ball, 1 walk and 4 Ks.  At that point, he seemed to be a shoo-in for the last starter spot, but then… a “not so fast” moment came from the Fredi that matters:  manager Fredi Gonzalez:

 

I guess not.  Dave O’Brien, who is “in” on the dugout chatter and such, actually was tweeting his assumption of Garcia’s presence on the roster just this morning.  The combination of his experience and reliability seemed to make this a fairly straight-forward call… at least to start the season.

 

 

Garcia’s reaction?  About like you might expect:  


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Okay, So What Now?

Gus Schlosser makes the team?  Sure looks that way, as a host of other minor-league re-assignments were made today… and he’s not one of them.

Remaining in Contention for the Bench and Bullpen… and if I’m counting right, they all make it…for now:

>>This will still be a fluid situation:  Mike Minor is on the DL now, and likely will remain until the end of April.  Santana isn’t there now, but may open the year on it.  DO’B points out that if he doesn’t pitch in another major league game this Spring, he can start sooner since the Braves can thus back-date his DL-effective date… avoiding the full 2-week stint.  Thus, if all goes well from here, 2 guys from this group:  [Hale, Pastornicky, Thomas, Gearrin, Schlosser (most likely)] will be back in AAA once Santana and then Minor (later) are ready to play.

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Why Did They Cut Garcia?

Two answers stick out to me:

  • Money.  Okay, by baseball standards, it’s not a lot.  But it is $1.25 million:  the amount that the Braves would owe Garcia if he remained on the roster after March 27th.
  • Rotation Space.  At this point, if looks like Garcia was effectively going to be the 5th starter – behind David Hale.  Mike Minor should be ready to go by the end of April, and there’s hope (though personally, I’m still thinking it’s overly optimistic) that Gavin Floyd might be starting by mid-May or so.  That bumps Garcia and maybe even Hale.

So should the Braves pay $1.25 million for a pitcher they’re gonna use for maybe for 3-4 starts and then either throw away or send to the bullpen?  Apparently, Frank Wren decided that the answer was “no”.  They at least had the decency to dump Freddy early:  that will give him the best chance to latch on elsewhere.

Meanwhile:  your rotation depth now consists of David Hale and Gus Schlosser.  And this pair will be used as needed to fill in the gaps left by Gavin Floyd and Mike Minor.

 

Gus Schlosser 101

I did a little work on him in January, as Gus was one of the “other” players included in the Braves’ Caravan visit to Huntsville (I don’t say that to be mean or to demean him – but hey, Craig Kimbrel was obviously the headliner!).  He’s 6-4/220 and is now 25-1/2 years old.  He’s also now an official “success” story, having been a 2011 17th round pick out of Florida Southern (Lakeland) College and their funky Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.

Gus is a righty who hasn’t been known as a “stuff” guy, but then again, neither is David Hale.  He did manage a 2.39 ERA in 135 innings at Mississippi last year, though wasn’t blowing people away in doing so (6.72 K/9).  It’s been this Spring where he’s jumped up several notches in the pecking order, though:  2.03 ERA with more strikeouts (13 in 13.1 innings) and five walks with a remarkable .152 BAA.

I agree with other opinions that this will give him a chance to do a bit of “on the job training” with limited exposure … and frankly more upside than whatever Freddy Garcia still had available in his tank.

 

Opening Day is 7 days away.

 

 

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  • http://www.tomahawktake.com/ Chris Headrick

    Alan, I wasn’t very surprised they released him. I think Fred and I discussed in a recent Live Thread this very real possibility. Despite pretty good numbers this spring, my eye test told me he just didn’t have good command, and that in several outings. Not sure how well numbers can per perceived in spring. I think the concern with Garcia was simply how well he could perform over an entire season, certainly as a starter, but even in relief situations. I don’t know that I agree with releasing him, but I am not surprised they did.

    • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

      I would not have been surprised to see this done in May. But the thinness of depth made me think it was worth the $1-1/4 mill to keep him around… even for just a month. I can see the opposing school of thought, but .. well, there just isn’t any safety net at this point.

  • Joseph Fain

    It seems like a fairly unnecessary risk to take by releasing him when the Braves need bodies in the starting rotation. Why not keep Garcia and if he doesn’t do well you can always turn to Schlosser later? I would have seen Garcia’s contract as fairly cheap depth at this point.