According to Dan Hayes of the North County Times, Jon Garland declined his $6.75 mutual option with the Padres for 2011 and will test the free agent waters. Per the terms of his contract, the veteran right-hander will receive a $300,000 buyout from the club.
Garland, who turned 31 in September, went 14-12 with a 3.47 ERA over 33 starts with the Padres this past season. He averaged a career-high 6.1 K/9, but also saw his walk rate jump from 2.8 BB/9 last season to 3.9 BB/9.
He ended up being a pretty good bargain for the Padres on a one-year, $4.7 million contract, though a pretty fortunate batting average on balls in play and pitching at PETCO Park (3.00 ERA at home, 4.01 ERA away) certainly helped.
With a pretty thin market for free agent starters this winter, Garland will rightfully look to cash in with a multi-year contract. He’s a reliable innings-eater, but to expect a repeat in a more hitter-friendly environment would be foolish.
For what it’s worth, Garland ranked No. 21 on Matthew Pouliot’s list of the Top 111 free agents.
While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.
Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”