Just one week before Opening Day, the Atlanta Braves have decided to go in a different, younger direction at the back end of their rotation, and they’ve done so by releasing veteran hurler Freddy Garcia.
In addition, RHP Freddy Garcia was released. Atlanta now has 29 active players remaining in Major League camp.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) March 24, 2014
The move to jettison Garcia is a bit of a shock for the Braves, simply because of the long list of pitching injuries that the team has suffered this Spring. Both Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen fell victim to second Tommy John surgeries, leaving Garcia as the seemingly “safe” option to fill a back-end rotation spot, but after a poor Spring that saw the 37-year-old post an ERA near 5.00, they’ve decided to move on.
The elephant in the room with Garcia is that the club owed him a $1.5 million bonus if he made the Opening Day roster, and apparently, the Braves believe that they can bridge the gap in a different way until their other pitchers (Ervin Santana, Mike Minor, Gavin Floyd) can return at full strength. It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine Garcia latching on elsewhere, but with the tight timetable before games begin, he could be on the outside looking in with regard to a job.