Michael Golde, an employee of KTRS 550 AM in St. Louis, tweeted Thursday afternoon that the Cardinals and left-handed starter Jaime Garcia had reached agreement on a four-year, $27.5 million contract extension with club options for 2016 and 2017.
The Cardinals have not confirmed the rumor, but they’re not completely shooting it down either.
Cards GM John Mozeliak told Matthew Leach of MLB.com before Thursday night’s game against the Diamondbacks that “any contract discussions that we have with any player will be done privately, and when we have an announcement, we’ll have an announcement.” Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was informed by a team official that a physical has been scheduled. And that Garcia is not hurt.
In other words, it’s probably happening. And an official announcement could be coming soon.
Garcia earned Rookie of the Year votes last season after posting a 2.70 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 163 1/3 innings. He’s done well in his sophomore campaign, too, with a 3.23 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 95/30 K/BB ratio through 111 1/3 frames. But his home-away splits hint at comfortability — and perhaps confidence — issues.
In 155 2/3 career innings at Busch Stadium, the 24-year-old has a 1.73 ERA and has limited opposing hitters to a .553 OPS. In 135 career innings away from Busch, he has a 4.60 ERA and a .756 opponents’ OPS.
Garcia is still a pre-arbitration player, earning $437,000 this season. The new deal, if similar to the terms that Golde is reporting, would cover all three of his arbitration years while also spilling over into free agency.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.
According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.
Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.
While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.
Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.
More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.
Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.