Could Freddy Garcia be the pitching addition that puts one of the contending teams over the top?
Two scouts who watched Garcia's showcase workout on Tuesday in Florida said Wednesday they're not sure he can be.
"He controls the ball well," one of the scouts said. "He just needs to increase his arm strength."
"He wasn't bad for a guy who hasn't pitched in a year," said the other scout. "There's nothing wrong with his arm. He looks the same as he did (before shoulder surgery), with the same arm action. He just doesn't have the arm strength right now."
Garcia once threw in the mid-90s, but he was topping out at 84-85 mph before surgery. Tuesday, he was at 81-82 early in the session, later topping out at 86.
About 20 scouts, representing at least 15 teams, attended the workout. Both New York teams were represented, and some who know Garcia believe he would love to pitch for the Mets.
Garcia's agent, Peter Greenberg, said today that Garcia would ideally like to sign with a team soon. But Greenberg also said that if teams don't show enough interest, Garcia would be prepared to go to winter ball to prove himself, and then aim to sign a contract for 2009.
One of the scouts who watched Tuesday said that might be the best course.
"I'm not sure he'll be ready to help a team before next spring," the scout said. "From what I saw, he needs at least four to five starts (in the minor leagues). And the problem if you sign him is that he would still be a free agent at the end of the year."
Garcia last pitched in June 2007, for Philadelphia. He had surgery on his shoulder last August.