After the Braves released Freddy Garcia yesterday I was ready to write an article about what a mistake I thought they had made. I like players who can produce in the clutch and Garcia was great last season in September and then in the playoff game against the Dodgers.
Too often over the years the Braves have had players who are solid April to August and then down the stretch and in the playoffs they fold up like a card table. I think Garcia deserved another chance to pitch for the Braves this season.
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Sure Garcia’s velocity has diminished to the point that I can almost catch him bare handed, but the guy was getting people out and that is the bottom line. His spring numbers were very good when you take out the bad start the day his wife went into labor.
Then after the Braves released Garcia, boom they signed veteran Aaron Harang. I’ve always liked Harang, he has been one of the better power pitchers in the National League over the years. Unfortunately, he’s lost a few miles per hour off his fastball, but the Braves say he is still throwing 91-92. Kris Medlen was throwing 89/90 last season and Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy are usually 91-93, so Harang still has major league velocity.
Harang went 10-12 with the Dodgers in 2012 with a 3.61 ERA in 179 2/3 innings. He struggled last season in the American League but had a 3.52 ERA in 23 innings with the Mets. So he still knows how to get National League hitters out.
Hate to see Garcia leave, but I think Harang is a helluva pick-up for the Braves at this late stage in the spring.