(Photo Credit: Billy Hurst / AP)
If the baseball season began today, the St. Louis Cardinals pitching rotation (in no particular order) would be: Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Mike Leake, Carlos Martinez, and Jaime Garcia. Veteran starter Lance Lynn is out for the season due to Tommy John Surgery.
Four of the five starters named in the main rotation above are St. Louis-grown products (aside from Leake, acquired during this past free agency period).
When healthy, these five pitchers can form one of the best (if not, THE best) pitching rotation in baseball. The key word there, however is “when”. Because, injuries have taken its toll on each of these pitchers at some point or another.
A big question that needs to be addressed is: can Garcia be trusted?
The 29-year old is entering his eighth year as a Major League pitcher, and thus far, his career has been decently successful. He has won 52 games and lost 32, for a win percentage of .619. His ERA is 3.31, and he averages 15 wins per season based on his averages.
However, he has suffered a multitude of injuries throughout the past few seasons ranging from shoulder issues in his throwing arm, which required surgery, to strains in the groin.
In 2015, the veteran lefty made $9.25 million despite missing multiple starts due to injuries. This season, there is an $11.5 club option with a $500,000 buyout. In 2017, Garcia and the Cardinals have a $12 million club option, as well as a $500,000 buyout.
His early career showings of prowess have dwindled down to patches of great success and mediocrity, although he will still remain a key component of the Cardinals’ pitching rotation. With younger stars Marco Gonzales and Alex Reyes not slated to make as much of an impact this year from the minors, the five starters currently in the rotation must be relied upon to carry the pitching and help the Cardinals once again reach the top of the baseball mountain.