Sunday, June 27, 2004
Updated: June 28, 9:43 AM ET
Garcia himself stunned over trade
SEATTLE -- Freddy Garcia's name has been kicked around in dozens of trade rumors over the past month.
Still, the big right-hander was stunned when a deal finally came down.
"I don't know what to say. It's hard for me to leave. I do love playing here," Garcia told reporters in Safeco Field's interview room after San Diego's 5-1 win over the Mariners on Sunday.
Garcia was traded to the Chicago White Sox, who gave up young catcher Miguel Olivo, top prospect Jeremy Reed and minor league infielder Michael Morse. Chicago also gets catcher Ben Davis and cash from the Mariners.
Garcia, who will be a free agent after the season, learned of the trade midway through Sunday's game. He stood on the dugout steps, chatting with fans, just before the news was posted on the video board in the ninth inning.
"I've got a lot of good memories here," Garcia said. "I can't count them. Nice people, a good team. What can I say? It's all good."
Garcia was 4-7 with a 3.20 ERA in 15 starts for last-place
Seattle this season. The two-time All-Star is 76-50 in his six-year
career with a 3.89 ERA. There were scattered boos when the deal was
"I get it. To see him go, with no knowledge of what you're
getting, is tough," Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi said.
"If I was outside the organization, I might feel the same way
because I love watching the guy pitch."
Bavasi urged Seattle fans to see the big picture.
The front office saw the trade as a chance to bolster several
potential weaknesses. Dan Wilson has been a workhorse behind the
plate for 11 seasons in Seattle, but at 35 he might not be around
too much longer.
Manager Bob Melvin made it clear in spring training he wanted to
see the 27-year-old Davis seize the starting job, but Davis was
sent to Triple-A Tacoma after hitting .091 in 14 games.
The Mariners landed another major league catcher, and Olivo is
considered a solid baserunner and defender. He's hitting .270 with
six home runs and 25 RBIs in 45 games with the White Sox.
The 22-year-old Morse, hitting .287 with 11 homers at Double-A
Birmingham, will report to Double-A San Antonio. The 23-year-old
Reed, hitting .273 with eight homers and 36 RBIs at Triple-A
Charlotte, will report to Tacoma.
It's no secret the Mariners need offense. Seattle's .257 team
average ranks last in the American League. Bavasi hopes to keep
arms within the pitching-rich organization and continue to look for
help at the plate.
"We're going to use that pitching in the next few years, and
the money we have to spend will be spent primarily on position
players," he said.
Bavasi rejected suggestions that the deal means the front office
has given up on this season. At the same time, he hinted he might
not be finished dealing.
"I never say never, but we're going to keep playing, keep
trying to win as many games as we can," Bavasi said. "If there
are moves that improve the club for the here-and-now or the future,
we're going to look at them."
The trade came together in the final 24 hours. The last hurdle,
from Seattle's perspective, came when team executives considered
whether they should offer Garcia a long-term deal.
"It was going to have to exceed what he projected [to receive]
in the free agent market. Our choice was the deal," Bavasi said.
Talk in the Seattle clubhouse after the game was focused on the
"It's hard to lose a guy that we've played a long time with,"
Edgar Martinez said. "He's done a good job for us, and he was
doing a good job this year. You've got to feel good for him."
Bret Boone said he'd lost "a good friend, a good teammate and a
great pitcher." Wilson, who knows Garcia as well as anyone on the
team after catching him for the past six seasons, wished him well.
"One of the things about Freddy is his ability to be a big-game
pitcher," Wilson said. "He can turn it on when he has to. He can
turn it up when he has to."