On July 13, the St. Louis Cardinals made an announcement that reminded us that the club continues to make smart, proactive moves to lock up the services of their young stars long before their free agent years arrive.
The Cardinals and left-handed pitcher Jaime Garcia came to terms on a four-year contract with two club options for 2016 and 2017. The deal is worth $27 million over its first four years and could grow to $49.5 million over six.
This deal follows a formula the club used earlier with Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina. Garcia’s salary is now set for his three arbitration eligible years and he remains under team control for as many as three of his potential free agent seasons as well. In return, the player receives earlier financial security.
Garcia, 25, had established considerable momentum coming into the negotiations. He was 9-3 with a 3.23 ERA during the first half of the season. That came on the heels of one of the best rookie campaigns in 2010 where he was 13–8 with a 2.70 ERA (fourth in the National League), ranking not only among top rookie pitchers, but also the top Major League pitchers in several categories.
Garcia’s career mark is 27–16, with a 3.27 ERA and 296 strikeouts in 374 innings. In 2010, his 2.70 ERA was the lowest by a Cardinals’ left-handed starter since John Tudor recorded a 2.40 ERA in 22 starts (25 games) during 1990.