Jaime Garcia Gets Paid

Reports surfaced today suggesting the St. Louis Cardinals signed starting pitcher Jaime Garcia to a multi-year contract extension, buying out the young lefty’s arbitration years. The terms are not yet 100% concrete but human scourge Jon Heyman indicates a 4-year, $27.5 million deal with 2 option years. The Cardinals plan to announce the deal at a 12:30 Central Time press conference.

Garcia is having an excellent second full season for the Cardinals, posting a sub-3.00 FIP and 2.5 WAR already in 2011. Garcia is a known ground ball wizard despite playing with one of baseball’s worst defenses behind him. Only 24, Garcia limits home runs, misses bats, and throws strikes. Sounds like a keeper.

As MLB Trade Rumors points out, the deal is slightly less than those signed by Trevor Cahill and Clay Buchholz though past injury limits Garcia’s first-year arbitration earning potential.

The option years are obviously key but a deal this size puts Garcia squarely in the neighbourhood of similar starters Jon Lester and Ricky Romero. Both AL lefties signed similar 5 year, $30 million-ish contracts with $13 million dollar club options. Lester signed his deal at 25, Romero just shy of his 26th birthday though Lester was a year closer to arbitration when he signed.

While Garcia accepted the higher AAV, shorter term deal at a younger age, his deal might end up being the best. In terms of projection and/or true talent, I’d put Garcia ahead of Romero but behind Lester. Either way, this is a fair market deal for an excellent young pitcher in a pretty ideal situation.

Playing for a winning ball club in front of adoring fans without the worries of AL East drudgery wearing on his soul while making a hefty wage is all Jaime Garcia could ask for. The Cards lock up a big piece of their future while Garcia has financial security in the short term and still could enter free agency before he turns 31. A tidy bit of business for a efficient NL starter.

Big tap of the ledger to Cot’s Contracts

Comments (1)

  1. If i’m not mistaken (and I’m too lazy to look it up), Garcia’s deal covers 3 arb years and 1 FA year with options on his 2nd and 3rd years of free agency.

    Romero’s deal (I believe), covered his last 0-3 year, 3 arb years and 1 FA year with an option for year 2 of free agency. I’m thinking Lester and Gallardo both sold 1 year of free agency with an option for the 2nd year much like Romero.

    Hence, Garcia’s deal really has the lowest AAV with an extra option to boot. Sure, he faces a lot of shitty competition in the NL central but he’s still got great numbers, highlighted with that tremendous groundball rate. Better deal than Romero’s for a better pitcher, though Garcia isn’t an “ace” (i.e. opening day starter).

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