Toronto Blue Jays News

Toronto Blue Jays officially release veteran starter Jaime Garcia

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22: Jaime Garcia #57 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on April 22, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22: Jaime Garcia #57 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on April 22, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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As the Blue Jays trudge through a complicated and troublesome end of August, the first domino to fall is their once dependable fifth starter.

Unsurprisingly, the Blue Jays have officially released left-handed pitcher Jaime Garcia, less than a week after designating him for assignment, according to the team’s official MLB transactions page.

Garcia,  32, is owed $2.5 million for the rest of the 2018 season. His contract also includes a team option for the 2019 season.

At the beginning of the season, Garcia, a former St. Louis Cardinal, was expected to be a solid, dependable starter that would eat up innings at the back of the starting five. However, despite a serviceable 4.72 ERA in his first month, his season went downhill quickly.

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By May, his ERA has risen to over 5.50 and opposing hitters were slashing a scary .270/.355/.506 against him. With a negative WPA and concerns of longevity within starts, the Jays stuck with him through the next month.

Since the All-Star break, however, Garcia had been quietly better after a discrete move to the bullpen, tossing 13.0 innings while allowing seven earned runs and holding opposing hitters to a slash of .170/.278/.319. Still, the upcoming roster crunch and the mass arrival of some exciting young hurlers effectively left the organization with no other choice.

Now, the veteran Garcia will have the opportunity to sign with any organization he chooses, given that he is now a free agent. Though his stock isn’t as high as it once was, it’s not outlandish to suggest a team might take a flyer on a lefty with over 1000 major league innings under his belt.

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With a career ERA of 3.84, Garcia could conceivably be a lefty specialist for a contender down the line or simply provide some organizational depth for his next organization.

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