The Twins, only a half-game out of first place in the AL Central, might be close to shoring up their biggest weakness: starting pitching.
Minnesota “is in the final stages of making a deal” for Braves lefthander Jaime Garcia, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations, and an announcement could come Friday. Garcia is a nine-year veteran, eight of them with the St. Louis Cardinals, who owns a career 3.65 ERA, though it has slipped to 4.33 this season.
Garcia earns $12 million this season, and is still owed roughly $4.7 million for the remaining two months. He can be a free agent after the season. The teams are believed to be negotiating over whether the Twins will pay the entire amount.
The Twins are asking for an additional Braves player in the deal as well, the source said, though not necessarily a major leaguer. Atlanta is expected to receive a Twins prospect in the deal, which was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Medical issues are being explored by the Twins as they close in on an agreement. Garcia has had an injury-plagued career, including surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome in 2014, and groin and shoulder issues the past couple of seasons. Garcia has never pitched more than 194 innings in a season, and that was in 2011, when he was 24. But the 31-year-old Garcia has not missed a start for the Braves this season, and has nine quality starts among his 17 appearances, including last Sunday’s one run allowed over seven innings in a victory against Arizona.
Garcia, traded by St. Louis to Atlanta last winter for pitcher John Gant and two minor leaguers, has seven games of postseason experience, including starts in Games 2 and 6 of the 2011 World Series against Texas. Garcia’s postseason record is 0-3, but with a respectable 3.94 ERA.
The Twins have used 11 different starting pitchers this season, a group that owns a cumulative 4.91 ERA. Only the White Sox’s and Orioles’ rotations have fared worse.
Staff writer La Velle E. Neal III also contributed to this report.