Yesterday morning I wrote a piece tabbed ‘The Blue Jays elusive search for a 5th starter‘. In it, I state that the Blue Jays can go one of two directions when it comes to their starting pitching. They can do as they did last year, and when someone gets injured they go out and acquire some journeyman minor leaguer and pray he holds his own. Or, they can get proactive and sign one of Jaime Garcia, Jason Vargas, Andrew Cashner, Edinson Volquez, or even R.A. Dickey to a 1-year contract, and get 30 starts, 175 innings, and a pitcher who’s going to give them a 50% chance of winning whenever they pitch.
Well, low and behold the Blue Jays announced yesterday afternoon the signing of starting pitcher Jaime Garcia to a 1-year deal for $8-million, with a team option for a 2nd year at $10-million or a $2-million buyout. This is a pretty hefty buyout for a player like Garcia, which means unless he has an absolute disaster of a 2018, he’s likely here for the next two seasons. And that shouldn’t be a bad thing.
This is a signing that desperately needed to happen for Toronto. At the moment, their top pitching prospects aren’t quite ready to make the jump to the majors. Additionally, Toronto’s downfall last year, other than that miserable start they had in April, was largely on account of how they had no suitable pitchers to replace Happ, Sanchez, and Liriano when those players went down with injury.
The Blue Jays can feel pretty confident that Garcia should be able to give them plenty of innings and hopefully a relatively injury free season. Between 2012-2014, Garcia did have some ongoing shoulder issues that limited him to just 36 starts during that time. The past three seasons however have been much better for Garcia health wise with him making 77 starts.
This signing should now put to rest any talk of Biagini starting. With Dominic Leone being traded to St.Louis, the Blue Jays bullpen will need the version of Biagini they saw in 2016 to make his return. And knowing that he’s in the bullpen to stay (at least for the remainder of the year…hopefully) should only benefit Biagini and his eccentric approach to the game.