You might be asking, why am I including a bullpen arm that been worth a negative fWAR on the season? Don’t write me off just yet, and allow me to sell you on this trade.
Firstly, Luis Garcia isn’t having even a decent season in terms of results. Let’s get that out of the way to start it off. He owns a 5.51 ERA and 4.67 FIP. However, there are a lot to things that should intrigue AA when it comes to acquiring Garcia.
To start off, his underlying metrics suggest he’s been a bit unlucky this season. His xFIP is 4.16 on the season, which is actually lower than Steven Wilson’s. If you look at his baseball savant page, you will actually see he ranks in the top 75th percentile or better in: average exit velocity (92nd), xSLG (82nd), whiff% (77th), and average fastball velocity (92nd).
Secondly, Garcia has fixable issues. Right now his sinker has taken a step back in 2023. He still throws it hard as he nearly averages 97 mph on the pitch, but the command with it has been spotty to say the least.
He has an elite slider that has held batters to just a .094 batting average and .169 xSLG to pair with a whiff percentage that is over 50%. Finding his command with the fastball/sinker again and getting into better count leverages can vastly help Garcia.
The next thing Alex Anthopoulos should like is fit. The Braves current bullpens offers a every type of reliever you can think of. Guys who have control, guys who have movement, power arms from the left side, etc.
What Atlanta doesn’t have is a power arm from the right side. Outside of a pumped up Iglesias none of their right-handed relievers can really light up a radar gun. Garcia has no trouble with that, and as we know power pitching in the playoffs is highly important.
Lastly, and probably most importantly for AA is cost. Luis Garcia should not cost a huge prospect haul at the trade deadline. He’s a free agent at seasons end, and is making just $3.5 million this season. Also, he is having a subpar season, and he doesn’t feel like someone the Padres prioritize keeping for their future.
This deal is as low cost/high upside a deal as you can think of. Think 2021 Jorge Soler. I’m not saying Garcia is destined to win World Series MVP by any means. What I am saying is Garcia is a guy who has potential to hit if the baseball starts bouncing his way a little more and he gets a change of scenery.
He’s just one season removed from a 2.83 ERA and 2.60 FIP. It has all the ingredients for a trade AA would be itching to make. A trade that’s not on your radar, but once it happens you go “Ahh yes of course, we trust you AA.” It may not be the most exciting you want to read about, but it is the most likely option the Padres have to offer Atlanta.