The San Diego Padres have not done much this offseason, but they pulled the trigger this evening on a player that could eventually wind up in the middle of their rotation. San Diego has agreed to a minor league contract with former Yankees' pitcher Freddy Garcia.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN says the deal includes an invite to Major League camp during spring training. It is likely that Garcia breaks camp with the Major League club, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports believes he could end up in the Padres' rotation this season.
Garcia is a 36-year old veteran who could provide the Padres a nice presence in the middle of their rotation. However, he will have to prove he can still pitch at a high level. Garcia has shown flashes of brilliance in his career, but he has also frustrated managers and pitching coaches everywhere he's been. Garcia has spent 14 years in the Majors with five different teams, so he clearly knows how to pitch. It's just a matter of proving he can pitch well consistently.
Last season, Garcia made 17 starts with the New York Yankees. He also made 13 appearances out of the bullpen. In total last year, Garcia posted a 5.20 ERA. He spent the last two seasons in New York after bouncing around a bit. In those two years, Garcia had a 4.29 ERA. There was a time, though, where Garcia was thought to be one of the more dominant pitchers in the game.
Garcia finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 1999 with the Seattle Mariners. Interestingly, he also finished ninth in Cy Young voting that year despite a 4.01 ERA. Garcia made the All-Star Game with the Mariners in 2001 and 2002. He finished third in American League Cy Young voting in 2001. He led the league with a 3.05 ERA that season. After his time in Seattle, Garcia was never quite as dominant.
Overall, Garcia has a 152-101 record with 4.15 ERA. He's been a work horse over his career, pitching 200 or more innings seven times. He will get the chance to eat up innings with the Padres if he makes the 25-man roster. San Diego suffered so many injuries to their pitchers in 2012, that they could use a player who can actually stay on the mound.