Cubs Signing Former Cardinal Jaime Garcia to Minor League Deal
Jaime Garcia has bounced around quite a bit over the last two seasons and his next stop may very well be Chicago. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand was first to report that the 32-year-old southpaw was “likely to sign with Cubs” after being released by the Blue Jays earlier this week. Joel Sherman of the New York Post added that it’s a minor league deal and that the Cubs plan to have him make some relief appearances in the minors to see how he works in that role.
Source: LHP Jaime Garcia likely to sign with Cubs.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) August 31, 2018
#Cubs are signing Jaime Garcia to minor league deal. With #Bluejays this year held LHs to .188 BA. Cubs plan on having him make a few minor league relief appearances this weekend to see what he looks like in the role. @Feinsand was 1st to say Garcia signing with Cubs was likely
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) August 31, 2018
Most Cubs fans will remember Garcia as a Cardinal, but he was traded from St. Louis to Atlanta in December of 2016. The Braves then flipped him about a week before the deadline to the Twins, for whom he made one start before being swapped to the Yankees on July 30.
Garcia was a potential Cubs target this past offseason before signing a one-year, $8 million contract with the Blue Jays in February that included a $10 team option for 2019 ($2 million buyout). His poor performance and Jays’ desire to get younger led to his DFA and eventual release, which made him a Cubs target again. Though his numbers aren’t nearly as good as a few years ago and he doesn’t have value to an also-ran, Garcia could still have an impact down the stretch.
As Sherman reported, the erstwhile starter’s lone bright spot this season has been his work against left-handed hitters. Garcia has limited them to a .183/.250/.388 slash with a .274 wOBA, numbers that get even better when he’s pitching at home. Small sample size warning and all that, but you have to like a .128/.212/.255 line with a .213 wOBA. He’ll obviously be in a different home if the Cubs call him up, but he’ll also be facing different batters in different situations.
This is a very low-risk move since the Cubs gave up nothing and Garcia there is very little commitment in terms of the money involved. With Mike Montgomery in the rotation through the end of the season and Brian Duensing ineffective, might as well see if they can catch more lightning in a bottle with another change of scenery guy.
Despite some rough ERA and walk numbers, not to mention velocity that’s down about 1.5 mph, Garcia’s 8.35 K/9 so far this season is the highest mark of his career and is exactly one strikeout higher than his career average. And his walk numbers are much better against lefties, so it’s entirely possible that he could turn things around with a little extra motivation and more favorable matchups.