When the Cardinals exercised their $12 million option on Jaime Garcia, the prevailing thought was that the southpaw would be with another organization come spring.
The Cards didn’t even wait until the new year.
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Garcia was acquired by the Braves on Thursday in exchange for three minor-league prospects. In return for the 30-year-old, the Cardinals received right-handers John Gant and Chris Ellis and infielder Luke Dykstra.
Garcia’s time with the Cardinals was up and down, often on a start-by-start basis, but the lefty was largely good when healthy. Garcia owns a career 3.57 ERA in eight seasons, and he posted a 2.43 ERA over 20 starts in 2015 before slipping to a 4.67 mark this past season.
“We are pleased to be able to add Jaime García,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said. “We had targeted him for a number of years and feel he will be an impactful part of a revamped rotation. It was tough to trade away three kids we really liked, but we want to win and we want to create competition for our young pitchers.”
The move is the latest improvement for the Braves, who don’t appear to believe contending for a playoff spot in 2017 is out of the question. The club struck early and often in the opening days of free agency, inking R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon to one-year deals before Thursday’s trade for yet another starter.
For the Cardinals, Garcia was a superfluous and, if the past is any indication, likely frustrating proposition for their rotation next season. Even after Thursday’s deal, the Cardinals still have starters Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Alex Reyes, Mike Leake, Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha and Marco Gonzales under contract heading into next year.
None of Gant, Ellis or Dykstra moves the needle much, with the 24-year-old Gant, who spent some time in the majors in 2016, providing perhaps the most intrigue, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said.
“I like what’s there and believe there’s some upside,” said Mozeliak.
The real key to the deal may be clearing Garcia’s $12 million salary for 2017. Neither team is likely to be done improving this winter.
Owners, MLBPA Strike CBA Deal
No moves would be taking place if the owners and Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) hadn’t come to a consensus on a new collective bargaining agreement Wednesday.
The new, five-year-long CBA includes plenty of interesting changes from the current system. The biggest and most-celebrated is the move away from the All-Star Game determining home-field advantage for the World Series. Instead, the team with the best record in the regular season, regardless of league, will have home-field advantage.
Another notable change is to the minimum amount of time a player must spend on the disabled list. For non-concussion issues — the concussion disabled list is still seven days — players may now be kept on the sidelines for a minimum of 10 days, down from 15.
The luxury tax threshold, currently at $189 million, will also rise incrementally over the five-year agreement. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, that number will jump to $195 million in 2017, eventually ending up at $210 million by 2021.
Other concessions include the owners agreeing not to push for an international draft, and players approving a ban on smokeless tobacco for new major leaguers.
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