March 4, 2009
The Fifth Starter Race Plods Forward
by: Tino Evangelou on Mar 4, 2009 4:40 PM | Filed under: News

Yesterday’s 2 2/3 IP, 6 ER debacle by Freddy Garcia against the Cardinals helped move Livan Hernandez, he of the 180 IP and 69 (!) ERA+ last season, into the lead for the fifth spot in the rotation by default. Livan responded today with a positively dominating 2 2/3 IP, 3 ER performance against the Washington Nationals. To say that watching this competition unfold has been an uninspiring experience would be an understatement.

Much of what’s been written about Garcia’s performances so far have the tone of a career obituary. Jerry Manuel was frank today when asked about his fading chances of appearing on the Opening Day roster, as quoted by Marty Noble on

“Probably, with the numbers we have for that spot [at least three other pitchers — Livan Hernandez, Tim Redding and rookie Jon Niese — are competing] … that being the case, probably makes it very, very difficult for him to leapfrog over some of those guys.”

Others have been even less kind. David Lennon noted yesterday in his recap:

One scout who watched Garcia’s first appearance on Feb. 27 expected him to be released before Opening Day

Encouraging. While Garcia shouldn’t feel good about his odds to crack the team, he should feel good that his agent did his due diligence in constructing his incentive-laden contract. As It Is About The Money, Stupid tells us, Garcia would make 1.5 million dollars if he made the club, and be eligible for a number of incentives, such as:

$250,000 for 120ip; $250,000 for 130ip; $250,000 for 140ip; $250,000 for 150ip; $250,000 for 160ip; $500,000 for 170ip; $500,000 for 180ip; $500,000 for 190ip; $500,000 for 200ip


$100,000 for Cy Young ($25,000-2nd; $10,000-3rd)

Well, it doesn’t look like the Wilpons will have to worry about shelling out any of that dough. You can’t blame the Mets for shopping at the bargain bin and taking a chance on Garcia, but the truth is, more often than not shopping at said bargain bin will get you what you paid for. Since Tim Redding is behind schedule, all of this means that Mets fans may have to look forward to the thoroughly less-than-mediocre Livan Hernandez chowing down innings at the back of the rotation to start the year. Here’s hoping that Jon Niese dazzles some people in Florida before that becomes a reality.

3 Responses to “The Fifth Starter Race Plods Forward”

  1. Comment posted by Rivers McCown on March 4, 2009 at 4:54 pm (#935209)

    Face Plods?

    Well I guess it is kind of painful to watch…

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  3. Comment posted by Alex Nelson on March 4, 2009 at 5:08 pm (#935211)

    @Rivers McCown:

    I had a similar thought.

  4. Comment posted by JamesSC on March 5, 2009 at 9:15 am (#935289)

    I wouldn’t give up on Garcia that quickly, I don’t expect him to break camp with the team, but I think he will stay in “extended ST” or go to AAA to work things out. He might need an extra amount of time to get things together after a couple of years of rust, but I wouldn’t throw him out just yet.

    I am kind of expecting to break camp with Redding as our 5th starter, unless of course we end up signing Pedro.