Thursday, August 7, 2008

The pleasure of good timing

By the time you read this, rehabbing free agent pitcher Freddie Garcia may be a lot wealthier, if not all that great. He auditioned for some 15 MLB teams the other day in Florida, hitting 86 on the gun and looking healthy, if nto entirely hale.

Such is the state of pitching right now that he's probably going to get multiple offers from MLB+ teams, with the Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, Tigers, Rangers, Mets, Phillies, Astros, Brewers, Cubs, Rockies, Dodgers, Marlins and White Sox all seeming to have some degree of interest.

Of that list, one suspects that the Red Sox are just there to make sure the Yankees pay more for him. The Rays might have budget this year and a concern that they are burning out their young arms, but he's going to be an expensive league replacement level arm, and they've got better ideas down on the farm. Detroit should realize by now, given their bullpen woes, that they really aren't in a race. Texas is a possibility, but they won't have the budget to compete. Chicago could work out, especially given that he had success there in the past.

If he wants to stay in the NL, it's hard to imagine that he'll really want to come back to Philly, and I have no idea why any pitcher would go to Colorado unless he's being moved at gunpoint. The Mets are a possibility, and the Brewers and Cubs seem to be in a second-tier bidding war for talent. LA would be a nice stop, and might be an easy way into the post-season, given how awful the NL West is.

The most interesting thing is Garcia's timing. By coming onto the market with just under two months left in the race, he's put himself into great position to finish the year strong and increase his value. He also gets maximum interest from multiple clubs that have had the inevitable pitching wipeouts.

If you were an older pitcher, or maybe someone coming off a serious injury, why wouldn't you set yourself up with Garcia's timing? Being ready for spring training only gets you tied to a team that will overuse you, with a much greater chance of toiling for a non-contending team. If Garcia gets a big offer, count on someone else doing the same thing next year.

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