With spring training officially underway from the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, FL, the team is already hard at work filling out the remaining holes in the roster.
One of many holes that needed to be filled was the starting rotations fifth starter slot, and that was solved when the team signed veteran left-hander Jaime Garcia. The Jays added Garcia on a one-year, $8 million contract on Thursday afternoon, according to a club announcement.
It is worthwhile noting that the deal also includes an option for the 2019 season, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation indicates that it is valued at a total of $10 million. If the option is not picked up, Garcia will receive a $2 million buyout.
Cotillo also indicates the fact of which Garcia has the opportunity to earn $2 million in bonuses based on innings pitched. The entirety of the deal can max out at $22 million over the lifetime of his contract.
According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, the Blue Jays had checked in on the 31-year-old southpaw earlier in the offseason. However, talks between the two sides did not pick up until recently when team executive Ben Cherington interviewed with agent Michael Moye, ultimately making it possible for this agreement to take place.
2017 was a confusing season for the Reynosa, Mexico native as he split time between the Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins, as well as the Yankees. He combined to have an ERA of 4.42 to go alongside a FIP of 4.25 in 27 starts made, and 157 total innings pitched.
This move also allows the team to relocate right-hander Joe Biagini back to his strong suit in Toronto’s bullpen where he can once again provide a power arm and a legitimate set-up man to back up closer Roberto Osuna. The signing will also have a positive impact on Osuna, as their mutual hometown roots could help with the young righties comfort level.
As noted by Sportsnet.ca, Garcia, who has played nine seasons in the league, is a groundball specialist. His 54.8 percent groundball rate ranked fifth among all MLB starters last season.
His repertoire features a very effective two-seamer that averaged 91 mph last season, along with a four-seam fastball, change-up, slider, and curveball which if successful, will be a perfect fit for the club when he makes his team debut at the Rogers Centre against the Chicago White Sox.