Why are so many people upset that Jaime Garcia said he wants to be a starting pitcher again?
What is the guy supposed to say?
That he doesn't believe he can be the pitcher he used to be anymore and that he wants to hang around in the bullpen or on the disabled list only so he can keep collecting paychecks?
If a guy as talented as Garcia has proved to be in the past who didn't have at least a little anger built up after spending three years fighting injuries that have taken away his abilities and caused him to be the subject of endless ridicule from fans and the media -- meanwhile he didn't have the confidence to think he could come back, I'm not sure that I would want him on my team.
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Of course Garcia wants to believe he can still be a quality starting pitcher. That's what professional pitchers do.
Because of the nature of his injuries and his extensive medical track record, I haven't counted on Garcia this year at all. I'm basically assuming that he's going to be hurt -- and then if he's healthy it will be a big bonus.
But, if Garcia can somehow make it back to the form he had prior to the first half of 2011, it would be a big bonus, indeed.
Garcia was 13-8 in 2010 with a sparkling 2.70 ERA and a ratio of 8.3 hits allowed per nine innings of work. How much could the Cardinals use that sort of pitcher again? How much could any team use him? Garcia would help the Redbirds fill their depth lost when Shelby Miller was traded for Jason Heyward.
Worst case scenario, the Cardinals will have a healthy competition for both spots in the rotation and spots in the bullpen. While it might not be as neat and tidy as having one person pegged for each individual roster spot, competition makes all the athletes better. Plus, one way or another, someone is going to get hurt and the Cardinals are going to need another arm.
If Garcia knocks Carlos Martinez into the bullpen it is only going to be because he is the better pitcher RIGHT NOW. It would be a valuable learning experience for the youngster to have to fight for a job. Garcia didn't pout and said he would refuse to be a reliever. He just said he is aiming for the rotation and that he would have to prove himself to earn that job.
I suppose people took Garcia's comments as a "play me or trade me" ultimatium. But if he's somehow 100 percent and, simultaneously, Carlos Martinez looks like he's matured into a top tier MLB starter, wouldn't trading Garcia be a great option? The Redbirds were looking at paying Garcia about $12 million to camp out on the DL. If they could get a team to take his contract -- or to take part of it while giving up a decent prospect -- it's still a lot like Christmas in March.
One way or another, Garcia will be gone in 2016 when his contract expires and a rotation spot will be waiting for a year older, wiser and more polished Martinez will be waiting. Let's not forget the guy is only 23 years old.
Instead of finding reasons to be offended, Cardinals fans should be counting their blessings.