Garcia was traded to the Braves Thursday, Mark Saxon of ESPN reports. The Cardinals have plenty of pitching depth, and given the struggles Garcia incurred last season, the left-hander was deemed expendable by the St. Louis brass. Although Garcia did have a down year in 2016, he did pitch well against left-handed hitters (.246 BAA, 22 percent strikeout rate), which could help him garner a spot in the Braves rotation that is incredibly thin in the southpaw department.
The Cardinals will exercise the $12 million option on Garcia's contract for 2017, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports. Garcia posted both the worst full-season ERA and WHIP of his career in 2016, but he did start 30 games for just the second time in seven years and does not carry a hefty 2017 salary, so the Cardinals decided to pick up the option on his deal. The team has seven strong contenders for a rotation spot heading into next season, so it remains to be seen if Garcia will be part of the top five, and where he will slot in if he is.
Garcia (10-13) lasted just one inning and allowed two runs on four hits in a loss Monday to the Reds. Brandon Phillips stole third base off Garcia, who didn't appear to look him back at all, and that may have been the real reason why Garcia wasn't even allowed back for the second inning -- after all, he threw just 21 pitches, and worse first innings have been endured. Garcia hasn't won a game since Aug. 16; in eight starts since, he has a 7.36 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, and 0-5 record. His season will all but certainly end with a 4.67 ERA in 32 starts, the worst of his career as a regular starter.
Garcia will re-enter the rotation and start Monday's game against the Reds, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Garcia was briefly moved to the bullpen in order to make room in the rotation for top prospect Alex Reyes, but after Luke Weaver's second poor start in a row, the left-hander will step back into the fold. Garcia's ERA in the second half of the season still sits at a paltry 5.43, but the matchup against Cincinnati on Monday does look favorable.
Garcia has been moved to the bullpen, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Alex Reyes will take Garcia's spot in the rotation, beginning Sunday in the series finale in San Francisco. Things were trending this way with Garcia struggling yet again Tuesday, failing to complete even two innings as his second-half ERA shot up to 5.65. It's clear he's worn down after failing to reach 130 innings in any of the previous four seasons. His contract includes a $12 million team option for 2017.