Braves Release Garcia Then Boom Harang

Aaron Harang

Aaron Harang

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.

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.

Profile photo of Jim Hart About Jim Hart

Jim has covered the Atlanta Braves since 2008 for local and national broadcast news organizations. He also appears regularly talking Braves baseball on WCCP-FM in Clemson, South Carolina, and the ESPN Radio affiliate, 1420 Sports in St. Augustine, Florida.

  • Wayne Canon

    Frankly…..I don’t see the point in this decision. I thought Garcia was doing unexpectedly well this spring. Their experience level is roughly equal, I don’t think the money was an issue…..and Harang was just released by the Cleveland Indians where Terry Francona is the manager. (He should know something about pitching talent.)
    I’m at a loss to understand this decision. Maybe someone on the Braves staff has some inside info…
    I really wish all the best to Freddy Garcia.

    • Rusty

      I don’t get it either. Aaron Harang has never be anything but mediocre. If they were going to gamble on pitchers I can name two. Tampa Bay just released Erik Bedrad because he didn’t want to go to Triple A. His record with Houston last year doesn’t show how well he actually pitched. The second one is a Cleveland cast off that the Pirates are still misusing. Jeanmer Gomez is being totally wasted in middle relief by Pittsburgh. He should be a starter and he could step right in and give th Braves a minmmum of 6 sharp innings everytime out.

      But Mr. Mediocre, Aaron Harang? Why?

      • Wayne Canon

        I did read one blog headline that sums up my thinking about Garcia/Harang: ‘Is Harang more mediocre than Garcia?’
        Jim and Dawg do bring up some good points. Maybe this thing will work out
        I just read about Bedard being released. Sounds about the same sort of situation as Garcia. The Gomez release hasn’t reached the Pirates official site yet. They certainly ought to look at both as options. (any port in a storm.)
        .
        They say that in a bar around closing time, all the girls look pretty. Well, right now it’s around closing time at spring training, and all the pitchers are looking darn good!

        • http://atlantabullpen.com/ Jim Hart

          LOL@girls at closing time and great analogy!!

        • Nate Dawg

          LOL yep! Both have something in common; the wrong way to base roster decisions is called ST, while picking the wrong woman will add a D at the end of ST. lol

          • Wayne Canon

            ROTF dawg, ROTF

    • http://atlantabullpen.com/ Jim Hart

      Harang is still throwing 91-92 and has been effective in the National League in recent seasons so lets see what he can do. I’m not a blind loyalist, but lets face it…the Braves have made a high percentage of great pitching decisions over the years.

  • Nate Dawg

    Simple, it was between A: Freddy Garcia and B: The Better Option. Why? 1. They got the guy who has the edge in K potential by a full 2 per game, while walking the same amount of batters. 2. They got the guy who was two years younger, which means a lot more when 3. Freddy Garcia hasn’t been above average since he was 28, now at a stage where every year means a ton. His ceiling was to start him at 4.50/1.30 without any Ks. Harang might do that, but then again in this park with this defense he has velocity to maybe look like a low end 3rd Starter. 4. Harang has averaged 28 starts the past 3 seasons, Garcia 18. If we’re playing the experience card here we might as well grab someone with experience. 5. Here’s a big one that probably iced it cold: Garcia has pitched 15 years, mostly in the AL. Harang has spent the vast majority of his 12 years in the NL. He knows the parks, he knows the hitters.

    I think the Braves are preparing for this to be much more than a 1-month thing. No reason at all to trust that this is the worst of it, so get a guy with a possible year in him, not a mid-season replacement who’s obviously gassed.

    • http://atlantabullpen.com/ Jim Hart

      Good post, I agree. Except that Garcia was getting guys out and he did it on the biggest stage. I’m looking forward to seeing what Harang can do.

      • Nate Dawg

        There are a couple problems with that. 1- It was an outing that required a lot of smoke and mirrors on Garcia’s behalf. Definitely not something we could ever count on repeating. 2- We wouldn’t ever need it to happen again. To explain, he basically was a 6th starter when all was said and done, so getting guys out in the playoffs isn’t something we were looking for on the resumé.

        Let’s face it, regardless of how well he did, we faced the impossible task of going into an elimination game with Freddy Garcia, and guess what, we got eliminated. It’s just not the scenario we’re looking for. We’re looking for a guy to give us innings due to injury, and Harang’s the guy. Garcia never could have been the guy, not realistically.

        • http://atlantabullpen.com/ Jim Hart

          That could be although reading between the lines the Braves made the switch for two main reasons. 1) Garcia wouldn’t go to the bullpen and Harang would. 2) Garcia’s money was guaranteed if he was on the opening day roster. Those are two major negatives from the Braves perspective.

          • Nate Dawg

            Exactly. By June our goal was to have a staff that looks something like: Minor-Teheran-Santana-Wood-Floyd if we’re lucky. We needed this to be similar to an Albie Lopez situation. Obviously we can’t use AAA like we can for Hale.