Jon Garland declines mutual option for 2011, declares free agency

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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.

Brandon Crawford homers off brother-in-law Gerrit Cole

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You can’t pick your family and no one knows that better than Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. His sister Amy married Astros starter Gerrit Cole in November 2016, so the two players are brothers-in-law.

The two players have matched up against each other 18 times in the past, as Cole spent his first five seasons in the National League with the Pirates. Cole often won that battle, holding Crawford to four hits — all singles — in 18 plate appearances.

Crawford finally got the better of Cole on Tuesday night, hitting a line drive into the appropriately-named Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park for a two-run home run, cutting the Astros’ lead to 5-2.