Freddy Garcia Will Be A Big Sleeper This Season

An article by posted on February 8, 2009

If you were like me, you probably didn’t even bat an eyelash when you heard that the Mets signed starting pitcher Freddy Garcia. I just looked at it as another one of those classic Omar Minaya moves. You know the ones.. Minaya has become quite adept at resurrecting the careers of players who were left on the side of the road for dead.

Some of the most recent examples include Jose Valentin, Damion Easley, Fernando Tatis, El Duque (when he was healthy), and even Oliver Perez.

Garcia may be the best one of them all. After a losing a season and a half to a torn labrum that required surgery, Freddy Garcia says he is 100% healthy. The Mets had their own doctors check him out and the reports are glowing.

Adam Rubin of the Daily News gave a little medical update on newly acquired starting pitcher Freddy Garcia.

Mets doctors recently examined Freddy Garcia and gave him a clean bill of health. Garcia is the clear-cut favorite to win the No. 5 spot in the rotation, which would push Tim Redding to be the long reliever. “If Redding is our long reliever, we’re going to be really strong,” a team insider said about the bullpen.

There are many reasons to be optimistic for a big season from Garcia, the guy is a battler and big time winner. His career highlights are peppered with accolades that will tease you with what might be in 2009. Here are just a few that I found on MLB.com.

  • In 2006 (his last full season), García finished the season 17-9 with a 4.53 ERA. He led the White Sox in innings (216.1), starts (33) and quality starts (18).
  • Garcia, a two-time All-Star (2001, 2002), has won 10 or more games seven times in his career, including six straight years from 2001-2006. He went 17-8 with Seattle in 1999, 18-6 with an American League leading 3.05 ERA in 2001, and was 16-10 with the Mariners in 2002.
  • From 2001-2006, he was one of four pitchers in the majors to win at least 10 games, start 30 or more games and pitch 200 or more innings.
  • He has .605 career winning percentage, the eighth-best among active pitchers with 250 or more innings. He was 118-77 during his career with the Mariners, White Sox, Phillies, and Tigers.

You get the picture…

Garcia also oozes with clutchness in the post season.

“He’s a big game pitcher who has had great success in the postseason and we feel has a good opportunity to contribute to our success this year,” said Mets General Manager Omar Minaya.

Garcia was the starting pitcher in the championship clinching Game 4 of the 2005 World Series for the Chicago White Sox, going 7 innings and allowing no earned runs. In eight post-season games, he is 5-2 with a 3.56 ERA in 48 innings.

He signed a minor league contract with the Mets, who say he will battle with Jon Niese, Tim Redding and Nelson Figueroa for the final spot in the rotation. Yeah right…

The Mets might be calling it a battle, but the reality is that it’s Garcia’s job to lose and that Tim Redding will pitch out of the bullpen, while Niese and Figueroa head up the rotation in Buffalo. 

“I’m excited about the opportunity to pitch in New York,” Garcia said in a statement released by the Mets. “Nothing would make me happier than to pitch in the same rotation with my friend and fellow countryman, Johan Santana, and help win a championship with the Mets.”

I’m pretty excited too.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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