Showing posts with label Freddy Garcia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Freddy Garcia. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Former White Sox pitcher Freddy Garcia retires

Former White Sox pitcher Freddy Garcia is retiring after 21 years in professional baseball -- 15 of them in MLB.

Garcia, 39, spent the last two years in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League playing for the Tigres de Aragua. He made his final start Sunday.

Garcia finishes with a career 156-108 record and a 4.15 ERA in 376 major league games. Fifty-five of his wins were recorded during the five seasons (2004-06, 2009-10) he spent in a White Sox uniform, and of course, his signature moment was earning a 1-0 win in the clinching game of the 2005 World Series.

Let's celebrate Garcia's career by taking a look back at highlights of that game. This was a clinic on how to pitch:



Monday, October 26, 2015

Happy 10th anniversary, White Sox fans


As White Sox fans, we focus a lot on the final three outs of the 2005 World Series. Sometimes, it gets lost what a great game Freddy Garcia pitched on Oct. 26, 2005. This video captures his performance nicely.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The six best recent White Sox reunions

If the theme to "Welcome Back Kotter" wasn't enough to get you stoked for the return of former first-round White Sox draft pick Brian Anderson, maybe a listing of other favorite sons returned home to U.S Cellular Field will.

Two things the Sox have been noted for over the years are loyalty and a love of all things familiar. So they haven't been shy about giving players an extra spin in their uniform, and that extends beyond former prospects like Anderson and Kip Wells, who missed both comeback lists.

Let's start with the best, going back only through the New Comiskey Park Era:

6. Scott Podsednik
First tenure: 2005-2007, .270/.333/.354 batting line, 111 stolen bases
Second stay: 2009, .304/.353/.410, 30 SB
In need of an extra outfielder as the team was still trying to make something of Anderson's first stint, and with an injury-prone Carlos Quentin in left field, the Sox turned to one of their former World Series heroes.

To me, Podsednik was a better hitter late in his career than when he was the electrifying leadoff man earlier in his career. By then he had found more balance to his hitting approach, not trying to pull the ball as much as his forgettable final season in Milwaukee, but willing to turn on balls enough to keep pitchers honest, which he didn't always do with his slappy approach when first joining the Sox.

Age and injuries took their toll, and Podsednik didn't have much career left after leaving the Sox again. But he was a pretty nice lift for a flawed Sox team that needed one.

5. Freddy Garcia 
First tenure: 2004-2006, 42-21, 4.26 ERA
Second stay: 2009-2010, 15-10, 4.56 ERA
Garcia was part of the vaunted World Series-winning rotation, and friend and family member of manager Ozzie Guillen. Injuries limited his time on the mound between Sox stays (only 73 IP between 2007-08, and 56 his first comeback season in Chicago), but Garcia capably filled a hole in the back of the rotation through 2010, even though he wasn't the workhorse he was earlier in his career.

4. Jim Abbott 
First tenure: 1995, 6-4, 3.36 ERA, 112 1/3 IP 
Second stay: 1998, 5-0, 4.55 ERA, 31 1/3 IP 
Abbott was famous for becoming a big league pitcher with only one hand. After a few down seasons with the Yankees, Abbott signed as a free agent with the Sox. He held up his end of the bargain in 1995, but with the Sox going nowhere, he was traded to the Angels, where he began his career, for a bundle of prospects that included Bill Simas, John Snyder and McKay Christensen.

The revival didn't last in Anaheim, where Abbott was OK down the stretch, but bottomed out the next year with a 7.48 ERA and a 2-18 record in which he led the league in losses. (Abbott also had two losses in AAA that year, even if the magical 20 didn't all happen in the big leagues.)

In need of another comeback, Abbott came back to the Sox in 1998, and after a brief minor-league audition, rolled through September with a perfect record thanks to some average-ish pitching and some huge run support.

Abbott's career ran out of steam for good the next year in Milwaukee, but his last run on the South Side helped make a second-half surge from the Sox a little more entertaining.

3. Carl Everett 
First tenure: 2003, .301/.377/.473, 10 HR 
Second tenure: 2004-05, .255/.314/.428, 28 HR
Everett was a midseason pickup in 2003, hitting like a monster out of center field, even if his glove left plenty to be desired. He probably would have been back with the Sox if his big salary ($9.15 million in the last year of his contract) wouldn't have made any Chicago offer look like a massive pay cut.

Instead the Expos signed him to a two-year, $7 million contract, and almost immediately regretted it. No longer able to handle center field, and also unable to hit for both average and power like he did in his prime, Everett was shipped back to the Sox in 2004 after Frank Thomas was lost for the year because of injury.

Still under contract, Everett started 2005 as the regular designated hitter while Thomas was still on the mend. When the Big Hurt's return was short-lived, Everett again took up most of the DH at-bats.

While his overall body of work during his return to the Sox was unimpressive, call this a results-oriented ranking. Everett did spend most of the year providing the team with a competent bat at a position that requires a minimum of that. He also batted .300/.333/.300 in 43 postseason plate appearances to help the Sox to a World Series title they maybe don't win if Timo Perez is the regular DH.

2. Harold Baines 
First tenure: 1980-1989, .288/.341/.462, 176 HR 
Second stay: 1996-97, .309/.394/.490, 36 HR 
The first overall pick of the 1977 draft, Baines was so beloved that his number was retired when he was traded to the Rangers during the 1989 season. After knee injuries early in his career forced him into a DH role, Baines was arguably just hitting his stride as a professional hitter, batting .321/.423/.505 for the Sox at the time of the deal.

Even adjusting for a higher offensive era, Baines was a better hitter from age 31 and onward (.290/.372/.468) than he was through the first 10 seasons of his career. When the Sox needed to add a designated hitter before the 1996 season, Baines was a natural fit.

After helping power a potent offense on a team that should have won the AL Wild Card, he was back again in 1997, out-hitting mega-free agent Albert Belle before the disappointing Sox shipped Baines out to another stay in Baltimore ahead of the infamous White Flag trade. When the team said the trade was about helping Baines get a chance to win a title, not about giving up on the season, Robin Ventura famously quipped, "Isn't that what we're supposed to be doing here?"

1. Ozzie Guillen 
First tenure: 1985-1997, .265/.287/.339, Rookie of the Year (1985), 3x All-Star (1988, 1990, 1991), Gold Glove winner (1990)
Second stay: 2004-2011, 678-617 (.524 win percentage), 2005 World Series Champion, 2005 Manager of the Year
Players rarely return to former teams as managers and find much success, but Guillen did.

As a slappy-bat shortstop, Guillen only flirted occasionally with being an OK hitter. He became a lineup stalwart because of a glove that, depending on whom you ask, was either overrated or underrated. Nobody says he wasn't a good defender.

Guillen spent a few years as a utility infielder after leaving the Sox, and went from playing for the Devil Rays in 2000 to coaching with the Expos the next season. He was part of the Florida Marlins staff that won a World Series in 2003 before replacing Jerry Manuel as White Sox manager the next season.

When the Sox won a title in 2005, Guillen basked in the glow of the first baseball championship for Chicago in 88 years, taking home a Manager of the Year award. You could argue it never got better than that for Guillen and the Sox, who won 90 games the next year but came up short, and made only one other playoff appearance together -- a 2008 first-round exit against Tampa Bay.

Guillen certainly left hard feelings behind by demanding a contract extension or a trade to the Miami Marlins during his last month with the Sox. It was an ignominious ending to a reunion that began with triumphant glory.

Time will heal all wounds though, at least until the Sox win another title. If current skipper and all-time Sox great Robin Ventura is the manager lead them to one, he should easily displace Guillen at the top of this list. If he does that, he'll have engineered a surprising near-playoff run (2012), a rebuilding project (2013-?) and then a championship.

If those dreams come true, it would be another good reason getting back together isn't always a bad idea.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Injury-riddled Braves sign pitcher Ervin Santana

It's been a bad week for the Atlanta Braves and their starting pitchers.

Kris Medlen, Atlanta's best pitcher and projected Opening Day starter, left a spring training start on Sunday while holding his right elbow. Preliminary tests showed ligament damage, and it's possible Medlen will be looking at his second Tommy John surgery in less than four years.

Then on Monday, Brandon Beachy could not finish his spring training outing because of continuing problems with his surgically repaired right elbow. Beachy has started just 18 games over the last two seasons and his suffered multiple setbacks in his recovery after surgery in 2012.

I haven't even mentioned Mike Minor yet. The left-hander won 13 games for Atlanta last season, but he's yet to pitch this spring because of a shoulder problem.

The Braves are staring down the possibility that 60 percent of their starting rotation will be on the disabled list when the season opens. Julio Teheran, a 14-game winner last year, and fifth starter Alex Wood are the last two men standing. Former White Sox pitcher Freddy Garcia is in camp as a nonroster invitee. Another former Sox, Gavin Floyd, is on Atlanta's roster, but he is not expected to pitch until May as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

The situation is obviously getting a little worrisome in Atlanta, so the Braves acted Wednesday, signing Ervin Santana to a one-year contract worth $14.1 million. The right-hander, who went 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA in 32 starts with Kansas City last year, was the last major free-agent pitcher available.

It's no secret I'm not a fan of Santana. As recently as two years ago, his ERA was over 5. His 2013 performance with the Royals was a career year, and I wouldn't expect him to repeat that. It seems a lot of GMs felt the same way, and that's why the 31-year-old right-hander went unsigned halfway into March.

Also, the Braves have to give Kansas City a first-round draft pick -- in this case the No. 26 selection -- as compensations for signing Santana. Atlanta is paying a hefty price here, not just the $14.1 million but the draft pick as well.

You might go so far as to say the Braves are panicking in the wake of their recent injuries. I can understand their thinking, though. They won their division last year, and they obviously feel they are a contender again this season. But the house may crumble if they enter April with the corpse of Freddy Garcia as their No. 3 starter. That would be a scary proposition indeed.

Atlanta is counting on Santana to ride to its rescue. That's not a comfortable position to be in, but it's probably better than relying on Garcia or throwing some untested rookies into the fire.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Do you suppose the Cubs wish they still had Chris Archer? Or Josh Donaldson?

As a matter of philsophy, I usually agree with the idea of trading prospects for proven veterans. After all, you generally know what you're going to get from a veteran player, and as a percentage, the overwhelming majority of prospects are busts.

If you take a look at what the White Sox have done over the last 10 or 15 years, most of former GM Ken Williams' trades have involved dealing future prospects to acquire help for the here and now. When I look at all the young players Williams traded, the only one I wish the Sox still had is Gio Gonzalez.

Strangely enough, the Sox traded him twice. In 2005, they sent him and Aaron Rowand to Philadelphia for Jim Thome (good trade). They reacquired him, along with Gavin Floyd, for Freddy Garcia in 2006 (also a decent trade). Then, they sent him to Oakland in 2008 with Ryan Sweeney and Fautino De Los Santos for Nick Swisher (terrible trade).

The rest of the players Williams traded, I can't say I miss.

Here are two guys the former GM of the Cubs (Jim Hendry) traded that I'll bet the current GM (Jed Hoyer) wishes he still had: Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer and Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson.

Archer, a 24-year-old right-hander, is having a breakout season for the Rays. He's 8-5 with a 2.81 ERA in 17 starts. He's allowed two earned runs or less in 12 of those outings. Pretty impressive for a kid who just joined the rotation on June 1 and is pitching in the rugged AL East. 

The Cubs acquired Archer from Cleveland in the Mark DeRosa deal in 2008, but in 2011, they flipped him to Tampa Bay in an eight-player deal that brought Matt Garza to the North Side of Chicago. Over 2 1/2 seasons, Garza went 21-18 in 60 starts for the Cubs. He, of course, is no longer on the team, having been traded to the Texas Rangers earlier this summer.

Meanwhile, the Rays have a potential ace on their roster. The Cubs are still looking for that guy. Some people in Chicago seem to believe Jeff Samardzija is an ace. I disagree. A 28-year-old with a 4.13 ERA who is blowing 5-0 leads against the woeful Philadelphia Phillies is not an ace. He's a mid-rotation starter on a contender. The Cubs should consider trading him this offseason. He's not going to get any better than he is right now.

Donaldson, a 27-year-old third baseman, is a bit of a forgotten man. Most people haven't noticed his .296 average, 19 home runs and 77 RBIs this season because he plays for Oakland. Most people have probably also forgotten the Cubs selected him 48th overall in the 2007 draft.

In July of 2008, Donaldson, Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton and Eric Patterson were traded to Oakland for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. At the time, Donaldson was the least talked about player of the four the Cubs gave up. Right now, he looks like the best player in that deal. He plays third base, too, and it seems like about half the teams in baseball are looking for someone to fill that position. It took five years, but that acquisition is paying dividends for the A's, who certainly do not miss Harden or Gaudin.

With both Chicago teams out of the pennant race this year, both clubs have traded some veterans for future considerations this summer. A couple years down the line, maybe they'll strike gold in some of these deals. Only time will tell. Most of the time, the team acquiring the veteran wins the trade. But every now and then, you seen a trade like the Archer deal or the Donaldson deal where the team acquiring the prospects prevails.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras: Back from the Dead

Back when Jose Contreras was the ace for the 2005 World Series champion White Sox, I assumed he was about 50 years old. He was a terrific pitcher at that time; he just looked like he was old enough to be my grandfather.

Freddy Garcia was a starting pitcher on that team, too. The following year, in 2006, he looked like he was pitching injured. Sure enough, by midseason 2007 he was on the shelf with shoulder problems. I figured his career might be over then.

Well, I was wrong about that. Can you believe both these two men are back in the major leagues? Both were recalled within 48 hours of each other this week.

Garcia made an immediate contribution to his latest team, the Baltimore Orioles. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Saturday against the struggling Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before running out of gas. As a matter of fact, Garcia faced the minimum 18 batters through the first six innings. He ended up allowing two runs in 6.2 innings and received a no-decision in Baltimore's 5-4, 10-inning win.

Contreras, meanwhile, has made it back from Tommy John surgery, a procedure he had done last June 20. He'll be a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates' bullpen after being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday. Contreras is listed as being 41 years old. Believe that at your own peril. He might have been older than that during his White Sox heyday.

I'm really surprised these two guys have hung around for this long. It just goes to show that guys who know how to pitch can enjoy long, long professional careers.