Garcia with the Baltimore Orioles
|Born: October 6, 1976|
|April 7, 1999, for the Seattle Mariners|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 24, 2013, for the Atlanta Braves|
|Earned run average||4.15|
|Career highlights and awards|
Freddy Antonio García (born October 6, 1976), is a Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher who is currently a free agent. He is best known for his many seasons with seven Major League Baseball (MLB) franchises, including the Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox, and New York Yankees. However, Garcia has also pitched in the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), Mexican League, and Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.
García's best year was in 2001 in which he led the American League in innings pitched and ERA. He made the All-Star team in 2001 and 2002. In 2005, he was a member of the World Series winning Chicago White Sox and started the series-winning Game 4.
Originally signed by the Houston Astros as a non-draft amateur free agent in 1993, García was acquired by Seattle in 1998, along with Carlos Guillén and John Halama in the trade that sent Randy Johnson to the Astros.
During García's rookie season, he pitched 201 innings, compiling a 17-8 record with 170 strikeouts and a 4.07 ERA in 33 starts. After going 9-5 in his second season, he went on to win 18, 16, 12, 13, and 14 games over the course of the next five seasons. García was the American League pitcher on the mound when the 2002 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was called after 11 innings, and ended as a 7-7 tie. The other pitcher was Vicente Padilla of the Philadelphia Phillies.
At the July 31 trading deadline in 2004, García and Ben Davis were traded to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Michael Morse, Miguel Olivo, and Jeremy Reed. As a Mariner, García posted a 76-50 record with a 3.89 ERA and 819 strikeouts.
García was the starting pitcher in Game 4 of the 2005 World Series for the Chicago White Sox, going 7 scoreless innings. The White Sox later won the game, and the World Series by sweeping the Houston Astros.
In 2006, he surpassed 1,000 strikeouts for his career. In eight post-season games, he was 5-2 with a 3.56 ERA in 48 innings. Also during 2006, on April 29, García recorded his 103rd career win in a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, surpassing former White Sox left-hander Wilson Álvarez as the Venezuelan native with most career wins in Major League history. He finished the season 17-9 with a 4.53 ERA. He was given the nickname "Big Game" while a member of the White Sox.
García experienced a shoulder injury that limited his performance for the first several months of the season. He was placed on the disabled list (DL) in June, and had shoulder surgery in August. García made 11 starts before being placed on the DL and earned one win.
In August 2008, García signed a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers. In his first 2 minor league starts with the Tigers he pitched 5 innings, gave up no runs, and struck out 5. In his Tigers debut in late September, García, with a limited pitch count, threw 5 scoreless innings to get the win.
In his first game back with the White Sox, García went 4.1 IP allowing 5 ER in a losing effort. García finished the 2009 season with a 3-4 record and a 4.34 ERA.
On October 5, 2009, the Chicago White Sox exercised their 2010 option on García, adding that the 34-year-old made a $1 million base salary, plus a possible $2 million in incentives.
On January 31, 2011, García agreed to a minor league contract with the New York Yankees worth $1.5 million. On March 25, 2011, the Yankees announced that García would be added to the major league starting rotation. He finished the 2011 season with a solid 12-8 record and a 3.62 ERA, however, he was consistently hammered by teams with .500 or better records, most notably the Boston Red Sox. García was on the mound in relief as the Sox won their second game of the season on April 10, as well as 2 other losses on May 15 and June 7. However, García did manage to defeat the Red Sox on September 24.
García also lost his only playoff start in Game 2 as the Yankees were defeated by the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series in five games. Despite this, the Yankees offered him a one-year deal worth $4 million with incentives for the 2012 season. The deal became official on December 9.
In 2012, García was expected to challenge for a starting spot with Phil Hughes, A. J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Michael Pineda. However, Burnett was traded in the offseason, and Pineda was diagnosed with a shoulder injury, thereby allowing García into the rotation.
García began the 2012 season with bad footing as he threw 5 wild pitches in his first start against the Baltimore Orioles. He was demoted to the bullpen after going 0-2 in April with a 12.51 ERA, averaging only 3.1 innings per start. David Phelps was moved into the starting rotation.
García immediately improved once in the bullpen. In his two-month relief stint, he posted a 1.56 ERA in 17.1 innings. His sinker's speed also improved, from an average of 87.1 mph in April to 88.6 in May/June.
A fibula injury to Andy Pettitte in late June brought García back into the rotation. Overall, Garcia finished the 2012 season with a 7-6 record and a 5.20 ERA in 30 games appeared (17 started).
On January 28, 2013, García signed a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres. He was released by the Padres on March 24. He was promptly signed to a minor league contract by the Baltimore Orioles, and assigned to the Triple-A Norfolk Tides. He was called up on May 4 to make his Orioles debut on the road at Anaheim. He was designated for assignment on June 24, 2013. Three days later, García signed another minor league contract and returned to Norfolk.
On August 23, 2013, Garcia was acquired by the Atlanta Braves for cash considerations. Garcia pitched effectively for the Braves, going 1-2 with a 1.65 ERA in September (1-1, 1.83 ERA in 3 starts). He earned a start in game four of the NLDS. Although the Braves lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Garcia pitched well, giving up 2 runs over 6 innings and was in line for the win when he left the game.
On April 18, 2014, García signed with the EDA Rhinos of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL). The seven-month deal included incentives that increased its worth up to $392,000, and was the most lucrative in CPBL history until Lin Chih-sheng signed a 3-year deal for $1.36 million in January 2016. In his first game for the Rhinos on May 10, 2014, García pitched six innings of shutout ball on four hits in a no-decision before being pulled after 77 pitches. The Rhinos won the game 5-0 against the Chinatrust Brother Elephants in front of a sellout crowd of more than 12,000.
Garcia opened the season with the Olmecas de Tabasco of the Mexican Baseball League, before signing a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 30, 2015. He was assigned to the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers. He appeared in four games and made one start for Oklahoma City, allowing seven runs in 7.1 innings and was released on April 21. He rejoined the Olmecas de Tabasco in June, then was traded to the Sultanes de Monterrey. In September Garcia was assigned to the Tigres de Aragua. He spent the rest of 2015 with Aragua, where he won a league championship, and started the first and final games of the 2016 Caribbean Series. He retired after the series concluded.
Garcia was eligible to be elected in the Hall of Fame in 2019, but received less than 5% of the vote, and became ineligible for the 2020 ballot.
García was once a power pitcher, but as he got older, García lost velocity on his pitches and compensated by developing a broad repertoire of up to six or seven pitches. In the 2013 season, García threw the following pitches, in order of their use:
García has also adjusted his approach to the strike zone, being especially careful not to leave pitches in the middle of the plate: "He doesn't really have the electric stuff, so he's going to stay on the corners and stay out of the zone."
A local professional baseball team yesterday announced that it has sealed a deal with former Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star pitcher Freddy Garcia. The high profile ex-big league hurler with 150-plus wins is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan on April 25 to join the Kaohsiung-based EDA Rhinos (?), the team said yesterday.