The Toronto Blue Jays have signed Jaime Garcia to a one-year deal. The Blue Jays were entering the season with four solid starters at the top of the rotation, so Garcia fills in the last spot.
Historically, the 30-year-old lefty has been an above-average pitcher … when healthy. From 2012 and 2015, he never threw over 130 innings in a season. The last couple of years, he’s mainly stayed off the DL, throwing 170 and 157 innings in 2016 and 2017, respectively. I think the Jays will be ecstatic if they get 140 innings from him in 2018.
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As for his talent level, Garcia has generally been the same pitcher, with a 7.5 K/9, 3.0 K/9, and a 55% GB%. Last season, the numbers were almost dead on, with a 7.4 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and 55% GB% with a 4.41 ERA. Owners should expect similar stats in 2018.
With Garcia’s steady average career so far, I see some upside. His sinker, slider, and change are each above-average pitches, with his sinker being elite last season (66% GB% and a 9% swinging-strike rate). His four-seam and curve are horrible, though, and he threw them a combined 37% of the time in 2017. If the Blue Jays can talk him into dropping those two sub-par offerings and relying on his three good pitches, he could take a major step forward. With a 583 ADP right now, he won’t cost fantasy owners anything on draft day. I would not be surprised if Garcia was a top-40 pitcher at season’s end.
Joe Biagini (7.3 K/9 and 5.35 ERA in 120 IP last season) is the biggest loser because he was previously slotted in as the Jays’ fifth starter. The 27-year-old righty looked to make a seamless transition from being a reliever to starting last season. However, he wasn’t able to keep his fastball velocity up and was demoted to Triple-A in the first part of August. He got promoted later that month but was unsuccessful again. Biagini looks to be a replacement-level starter but is probably best suited for bullpen work.
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