BY JUSTIN LADA
With Spring Training opening a week from today, the Indians were not done inviting players to camp.
According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal who first reported it, pending a physical, the Cleveland Indians will ink 32 year old, right handed pitcher, Jon Garland to a minor league deal.
Garland had surgery in July to clean up his right shoulder, near his labrum and missed the rest of the season. The doctor’s said he should be ready to be full go by Spring Training.
The 6’6 right hander was the 10th overall pick in 1997 by the Cubs. He ended up pitching for eight seasons by the south siders instead, the White Sox. When the White Sox won the World Series in 2005 he was 18-10 and was 18-7 in 2006. He won 14 games.
Garland in has pitching 190 innings or more in his 12 big league seasons. Eight of those came consecutively, 2002-2009.
The minor league deal, pending the physical, includes an invitation to big league camp. Pitchers and catchers report Monday February 20th.
Garland is a proven winner and a sinker-baller, which seems to dominate the Indians current rotation. Garland is the kinds of reclamation project the Indians have had success with over the last several years (Kevin Millwood 2005, Carl Pavano 2009).
Garland depends on his sinker a lot, which continues to put pressure on Manny Acta and the Indians to have their infield defense at its best. When healthy, Garland should succeed and would be a better option that Kevin Slowey as the 5th starter. He knows the division very well, and has a 30-13 record against the AL Central, including a 13-6 mark against the Detroit Tigers.
The Indians probably won’t have the firepower of a Miguel Cabrera-Prince Fielder, but a healthy Ubaldo Jiminez, combined with Justin Masterson, Derek Lowe, Josh Tomlin and possibly Garland gives the Indians an experienced rotation that should keep the ball in the ball park most of the time (save for Tomlin).
Hopefully this Garland signing winds up being better than the last Garland they signed; Wayne to a 10 year $2.3 million deal in 1977.
At the least, the Indians are signing players as insurance, not counting on Fausto Carmona being here. Antonetti said in an interview today though, that the Indians will now refer to Carmona as Roberto Hernandez.
They have already invited pitchers, Slowey, David Huff, Jeanmar Gomez, and possibly Scott Barnes to claim the 5th spot in the rotation. Adding Garland to that mix only helps them. While there are no likely favorites being publicized, I would think Garland, if healthy and due to his experience and success, should have a bit of an edge. Huff might also have a bit of a leg up because he would be the only left handed starter the Indians have with any major league experience.
Pitchers and catchers report Monday February 20th
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UPDATED 02/13/2012 15:37