In a season that has an unexpected amount of on-field tumult, frustrations have crept outside the lines and boiled over into the media.
“Do I sound frustrated? Do I look frustrated? I am frustrated.”
That’s a John Mozeliak quote from Joe Strauss’ column today in the Post-Dispatch. He’s specifically talking about Jaime Garcia’s decision to end his season by undergoing surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) AKA the same procedure that Chris Carpenter had at the end of his career.
“(Garcia is) a hard guy to count on and a hard guy to keep on the field.”
To wit – in the past 3 seasons, Garcia has pitched 220.2 innings, earning 16.75 million dollars in that span. This equals roughly $76,067 dollars for every inning completed.
For comparison, in 2013, Adam Wainwright cost the Cardinals $49,751 per inning. (To be fair, Wainwright’s salary leapt from 12M last season to 19.5M this season, so even if Wain-O completes another 240 inning campaign, his per inning cost will be significantly higher.)
It looks as if Garcia isn’t just a drain on the bottom line, though.
It’s clear that the Cardinals medical staff and Garcia’s camp haven’t been on the same page dating back to the Tony LaRussa days. Hard to believe, but that has now been over 2.5 years. And by airing out the dirty laundry to the media, Mozeliak is making it crystal clear that frustrations aren’t just from Garcia’s inability to play.
In the midst of the trading season, where the Cardinals should be concentrating as much energy as possible on bolstering an underachieving team, Garcia is causing front office angst not stemming from the 9.25M he’s owed in 2015.
Garcia’s future is murky – at very best.
The surgery he’s undergoing has been preformed on other baseball players with mixed results. Jarrod Saltamacchia recovered successfully. Pitchers Kenny Rogers, Matt Harrison and Jeremy Bonderman did as well. Hank Blalock and the pitcher John Rheinecker had various issues after having Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery.
You can read more about the medial aspect of TOS at Recovery Physical Therapy’s website.
It is fair for the Cardinals to move on expecting the worse. With 99 innings pitched in the past 2 years, Garcia hasn’t been a big part of the Cardinals success. He’s more of a highly paid pipe-dream – a promising prospect that never turned the corner into dependable contributor.
I’m sure no one wanted it to go down this way. Garcia. The Cardinals. Us. After 26 wins his first full 2 seasons as a big-league player, the future was bright. Garcia’s body didn’t agree.
So here we are.
With a GM openly frustrated. A player going out on his own to seek medical advice and rehabilitation. A team losing games because of suddenly thin starting staff. Not quite what anyone expected back in March.
Best of luck to Jaime on his surgery and recovery.
The Cardinals won’t be able to trade a nearly 10M player with an extensive injury history. So Garcia will be a Cardinal through next season.
Let’s hope he can provide something to the team next year in some capacity. But in the short term, let’s also hope that this rift between he and Mo can be patched up so the GM can concentrate on trying to salvage 2014.
Photo: Fans Share
Photo Note: It’s come to our attention that this photo was shot by none other than @Erika4STLCards and everyone should go follow her on Twitter. It was taken during the Winter Warm Up in 2012.