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Rumor Mill: Cardinals close to Garcia extension

Albert Pujols says he finds it too distracting to negotiate contract details during the season. Apparently Jaime Garcia doesn't have the same problem.

According to a report from KTRS radio, the Redbirds lefty is expected to soon sign a deal that would pay him $27.5 million over four seasons with an option for two years beyond that.

Garcia is 22-12 for his career with a 3.07 ERA and 235 strikeouts in 290 1/3 innings pitched. If it seems like he's reached the point of a big money contract unusually soon, don't forget that he's not really a second year pitcher. While Garcia burst onto the scene in 2010 with an impressive 13-8 record and a 2.70 ERA, he actually made his major league debut in July 2008, starting his free agent clock. Garcia then disappeared for a year and a half because of a torn elbow ligament that required Tommy John surgery.

With Pujols' contract situation due to be addressed at the end of the season, Garcia's contract will be one of many that will complicate the Cardinals' financial picture. He'd go from making $437,000 this season to an average of more than $6.5 million a year if the deal is finalized. Hopefully the deal is structured in a way that will see Garcia get a lesser amount in 2012 while the Redbirds still have to pay Jake Westbrook and Kyle Lohse whose contracts expire after next season. They make more than $21 million combined.

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