The St. Louis Cardinals solidified at least one-fifth of their pitching staff for the next four seasons - if not six. They signed LHP Jaime Garcia to a four year extension with club options for the fifth and sixth years. Garcia was going to be arbitration eligible for the first time this off-season, but this contract buys out all three of his arbitration years.
Garcia has arguably been the Cardinals' best pitcher in 2012 with a 9-3 record, 3.22 ERA and a 7.67 K/9. This is coming off of a rookie season in which he finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting with a 13-8 record and 2.70 ERA.
With the contract out of the way, Garcia eliminates what could have been or become a significant distraction. In regard to his contract extension being taken care of, Garcia says, "Now there's nothing else on my mind when I'm working out on days in between, other than getting ready for my game." A lot can be said for having a clear head in your day-to-day routine.
This is a great move for the St. Louis Cardinals. Jaime Garcia is probably one of the most underrated pitchers - let alone lefty pitchers - in the game today and still has room to improve. He'll form a very solid 1-2 punch with Adam Wainwright for a couple of years and eventually make a stud No. 3 once Shelby Miller makes his way up and earns a couple of stripes.
Some of the pitching staffs in the National League are getting out of hand and the Cardinals are going to need to keep up. Signing Jaime Garcia to an extension was a good start.