Cardinals, Jaime Garcia closing in on contract extension?

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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.

Mike Trout has been really good at baseball lately

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“Water wet,” “Sky blue,” “Dog bites man” and “Mike Trout good” are not exactly newsworthy sentiments, but once in a while you have to state the obvious just so you can look back later and make sure you were, in the moment, aware of the obvious.

And to be fair, “Mike Trout good” is underselling the Angels outfielder lately. He’s on the greatest tear of his great career lately, and dang it, that’s worthy of a few words on this blog.

Last night Trout went a mere 1-for-1, but that’s because the Diamondbacks were smart enough not to pitch to him too much, walking him twice. There was no one on base the first time he came up and he got a free pass. There was a guy on first but two outs the second time, so he was once again not given much to hit and took his base again. Arizona was not so lucky the third time. The bases were loaded and there was nowhere to put Trout. He smacked the first pitch he saw for a two-run single. They probably shoulda just walked him anyway, limiting the damage to one. The last time up he reached on catcher’s interference. Maybe Arizona figured that literally grabbing the bat from him with a catcher’s mitt was the best bet?

If so you can’t blame them, really. Not with the month he’s had. In June, Trout is hitting .448/.554/.776 with five homers. He currently leads the league in the following categories: home runs (23), runs (60), walks (64), on-base percentage (.469), OPS (1.158) OPS+ (219), total bases (179) and intentional walks (9). He currently has a bWAR of 6.5. WAR, in case you did not know, is a cumulative stat. When he won the 2014 MVP Award, he “only” had 7.6 for the entire year.

Sadly, one man does not a team make, so the Angels are only 9-8 in the month of June and have fallen far back of the red-hot Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners in the division race. For this reason I suspect a lot of people are going to do what they’ve long done and overlook Mike Trout’s sheer dominance or, even more ridiculously, claim he is overrated or something (believe me, I’ve seen it even this month).

Feel free to ignore those people and concentrate instead on the greatest baseball player in the game today, who has somehow managed to up his game in recent weeks.