Posted: 2:32 pm Monday, March 24th, 2014

UPDATED: Braves release Garcia, sign Harang to join kids 

By Jeff Schultz

Pitcher Freddy Garcia, 37, surprisingly was released by the Braves. (AP)

Pitcher Freddy Garcia, 37, surprisingly was released by the Braves. (AP)

From Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz to . . . Teheran, Wood and Hale?

Sure. When’s opening day?

The Braves, who lost two of their top starting pitchers, Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, before making it out of spring training, released veteran Freddy Garcia on Monday.

I’m not going to express shock and disdain at general manager Frank Wren’s decision to release the 37-year-old Garcia because … well, it’s Freddy Garcia. But this is a little bit of a head-scratcher when you consider what the Braves are left with in the starting rotation, and the fact Garcia wasn’t making a ton of money ($1.25 million if he was on the opening day roster).

UPDATE: The Braves have signed the well-traveled Aaron Harang to take Garcia’s spot. The 35-year-old Harang has pitched for six teams in 12 seasons, including four in the last three years. He split last season with Seattle (22 starts) and the New York Mets (four starts), going 5-12 with a 5.40 ERA. The assumption is that Harang will fall four or fifth in line until the Braves starting get players back from the disabled list.

Garcia was packing in the clubhouse when he told our David O’Brien, “They said they didn’t want to pick up my (contract). I gotta go…. I don’t have anything to say.”

Other than Harang, the Braves will have a kiddie corps of a rotation. Here are the other four healthy pitchers:

• 1. Julio Teheran. He is 23 years old. He is your opening day starter. Teheran has 34 starts, 30 of them coming last season in his rookie year. Congratulations, Julio. You’re the steady, veteran influence on this staff.

• 2. Alex Wood. He also is 23 years old. He started 11 games last year in his rookie season. He is less than two years removed from being drafted out of Georgia.

• 3. David Hale. He is 26 years old, a 2009 draft pick out of Princeton and started two games last year. When I spoke to pitching coach Roger McDowell at length early in camp, he brought up Hale’s name three or four times. At the time, I figured he was just trying to give the kid a boost by getting his name in a story. Now he’s the No. 3 starter. Oops.

• 4. Gus Schlosser. OK, if you tell me you’ve had him penciled in as a starter since camp opened, and you’re name isn’t Mr. or Mrs. Schlosser, you’re lying. Schlosser is 25 years old. He never has made a major league start. He was a 17th round draft and spent the last three years in the minors, starting 25 games last year for Double-A Mississippi (7-6, 2.39).

Unless the Braves add another arm before the season starts, that will be starting four going into the season. Teheran, Wood, Hale and Schlosser combine for 47 major league starts, and Teheran accounts for most of those.

You know the adage about how you should never look at the baseball standings until after Memorial Day. In the Braves’ case, you may want to push that back at least a month.

The team put five pitchers on the disabled list this week: Medlen, Beachy, starters Mike Minor and Gavin Floyd and relieve Jonny Venters. Ervin Santana, signed after it was learned Medlen would require a second Tommy John surgery, is not on the DL but will miss at least the first week of the season as he builds up his strength after his late arrival. Minor and Floyd will miss the first three to four weeks, at least.

The Braves could survive all this. But they might need Dan Uggla or B.J. Upton to hit .300 in April.

A few words, on replay . . .
– MyAJC ($): Did Dimitroff lose benefit of doubt after bad season?
– Blog: Dimitroff on Falcons, failure, his draft board and Umenyiora
– Blog: Mercer (Georgia’s shining light) stuns Duke
– MyAJC ($): SEC needs to go to nine-game schedule, eliminate cupcakes
– Blog: SEC needs to expand conference schedule (column preview)
– MyAJC ($): Richt has been tough, even if some haven’t noticed
– Blog: More arrests at UGA, and Herbstreit jumps Richt
– Blog: NFL must deal with Irsay (and Roddy White has his say)
– MyAJC ($):Georgia loses but Fox goes down swinging at NCAA
– MyAJC ($): Florida proving football school can win at hoops
– Blog: Bad sign? Florida struggles in win over Tennessee
– MyAJC ($): Georgia is given its chance to shine
– MyAJC ($): Page 2 special: College playoff arguments don’t make it wrong
– MyAJC ($): Falcons’ makeover has nice start but there’s more to do
– Blog: Braves make move for Santana, credit to Wren
– Blog: Falcons’ moves should improve both lines
– Blog: Braves now being bit by offseason decisions
– Blog: Braves’ rotation can’t afford Medlen’s loss
– MyAJC ($): Gregory says Tech needs to be tougher next season
– MyAJC ($): Nobody’s laughing at Ron Hunter, Georgia State now
– Blog: Denver to cut Champ Bailey, should Falcons cut him?
– MyAJC ($): Any use of ‘N’ word by athletes disrespects history
60 comments
miked91
miked91

I think its safe to say they will lose there home opener,I would rather a rookie show what he can do instead of a washed up veteren.Horrible move!

oldmaninatlanta
oldmaninatlanta

This is the Braves answer to pitching problems/?a 5-12 record with 5.40 ERA.Frank Wren has no clue but somehow he will blame Liberty Media


inisfree
inisfree

pete

Do the Braves have the hitting to cover the pitching until May?

Zing
Zing

Well, that was predictable.  Harang is probably a better option than Garcia, frankly.

journalist jimmy smith
journalist jimmy smith

harang has some toe issues from his time with the dodgers.  third toe.  jimmy smith hopes the braves consulted a good toe man before making this acquisition.  toes are not to be trifled with

RogerHenslee
RogerHenslee

As things stand with this pitching(and the play of BJ and others), I will be surprised if the Braves come near .500

JaySly
JaySly

no big deal--he's too old and washed up---they need young arms

slydawg
slydawg

On the surface, acquiring Harang in lieu of keeping Garcia seems a wash. However, Harang throws harder, throws more strikes over the plate, and is more familiar with the National League.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

I'm surprised by this move, definitely, but the more I think about it the more I see the logic. Garcia was essentially the fifth starter or a long reliever, and a guy who was going to make trouble if the Braves wanted to send him to Gwinnett.

It will be interesting to see how the young pitching holds up. The Braves offense has a lot of potential, a lot more than they showed collectively last year. They will need to be more consistent and stay healthy.

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

I would have understood releasing Vazquez to let Schlosser and Hale have a go, but releasing him and then picking up Harang does not make any sense given what Vazquez showed us last year.


Harang must be saving us significant dollars.  Even then it doesn't make sense.  I would go with th young guys over Harang any day of the week.  He has had two decent years out of the last six and that was due to pitching in major pitchers parks.  


The only way this makes sense is that we are still planning on going with the young arms and Harang is just insurance and will be kept in the minors to start the season (which Garcia was unwilling to do).

GT92
GT92

Jeff:  According to Joe Simpson during the spring training game tonight, the Braves just signed Aaron Harang. Help?

NoahVale
NoahVale

I'm willing to give "The Kids" a chance to prove themselves.  However, the offense is definitely going to have to pick up their game.   Give the starters some runs - EARLY - to work with and take off a bit of the pressure.  Oh, and Hale Yeah! 

theoriginaltruth
theoriginaltruth

Minor and Santana back in April... save the $1.25 million and give the kids a chance.................

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

Frank Wren...what a guy!  Foresight?  Yeah, man!  Head up his a$$? Yeah man!

Prediction:  2016 Braves will be downgraded to Class A.

Frank Wren?  MAN!  What a wheeler-dealer!

journalist jimmy smith
journalist jimmy smith

some said garcia was "here to stay" much like the ajc but every good journalist knows that is the kiss of death.   jimmy smith suspects it was toes that did garcia in.  one bad toe, maybe more.  toes are not to be trifled with. 

doktrt
doktrt

Blurb about Aaron Harang signing with Braves. Not much difference in Harang and Garcia. Let the young guns throw forget reclamation projects.


doktrt
doktrt

A return to mid eighties Braves is in store for awhile. I say go all in with young guns and let them earn their stripes. Gonna be awfully hard to compete this season.

LeonZiglar
LeonZiglar

This may be a big mistake. Can't believe Garcia could cost that much.  Garcia looked pretty good in Sunday's game.



oldmaninatlanta
oldmaninatlanta

It's simple,Wren has another pitcher like Gavin Floyd(either needing or recovering from Tommy John)just waiting to go on the DL.Garcia did everything they asked and did it pretty well.It's a shame that he is out of a job.

Getting_Older
Getting_Older

I am not sure I understand the reasoning, but at any rate, wish Freddy Garcia the best.  I know he and his wife just had a new baby, so I feel bad for the timing.  Thank you Freddy for all you have done for the Braves.  Take care and best of luck going forward.

Sebastian1386
Sebastian1386

If you told me this time last season that a writer from the AJC would be writing about the Braves cutting Freddy Garcia and the writer would call the move a "head-scratcher" I would say you are crazy. Schultz it's FREDDY FREAKIN GARCIA, not Clayton Kershaw.

Atlantarama
Atlantarama

Obviously, Frank Wren knows things we don't. Maybe he has plans for a veteran replacement that haven't been made public.

adarian652
adarian652

It will be a while before the braves have Venters

DrPhill
DrPhill

What is the status of Venters?

adarian652
adarian652

WHATTTTT!!!!!

Blame another bad season on the Upton brothers, Heyward and Uggla

Bogey
Bogey

Why does everybody keep bringing up David Price? Tampa would want a fortune in return for what would amount to a one year rental (another Texeira deal)....no way the Braves could outbid the big market teams for Price, or any other top FA pitcher.

The only ace the Braves could/should trade for (next winter) is Chris Sale of the White Sox....friendly contract thru 2019, and we would have pieces to trade.

58Supersports
58Supersports

Who said life would  always be Roses....

Agree on letting Garcia go ...

Floyd has never been very good so why do Braves believe he will be now?

Wren will pick up another pitcher off  wavers or a trade.

BJ and Dan will be better...hard to be worse.

Go Braves!!!!!

Zing
Zing

My guess: there will be an announcement about the Braves picking up a pitcher who has been waived who is marginally better than Freddy.  Kind of sorry to see him go, though, just because it sounded like he was a good guy.

DewayneDixon
DewayneDixon

Might be like a south-bound train traveling on a north-bound track!

lightsoutfrom3
lightsoutfrom3

We will be fine. It's not like we are winning championships with the journeyman pitchers we kept signing. Let the young guns play. I'm excited because I would much rather see the kids throwing 94-95 with a chance to shine than 35-40 year olds that can't hit 85 on the radar gun. Get excited Braves fans because the future is bright. Every year analyst pick us 3rd or 4th in the division and we usually prove them wrong. The next step is getting the postseason right. We are a playoff team. All they keep saying in the NCAA tournament is take the name off the jersey because the kids can play regardless. Give them a chance before we judge them. People have already played the season before it has even started.

Dawgs551
Dawgs551

Well I have to agree about Uggla and Bj Hitting .300 in april. But the only thing we have to do is see what happens of course. We all might be very surprised with these guys .

Constitutionalist
Constitutionalist

With Medlen's 1 year deal, there is no insurance to cover that salary...

ElephantintheRoom
ElephantintheRoom

This reminds me of one of those nature movies where the lions in Africa sneak up on the goats and slaughter them. The veteran hitters will be taking these rookies "downtown"!

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

Garcia being released is not a bad thing! We as bloggers, sport writers, etc.....have been crying and moaning about the Braves having the "ace" of the staff. How in the heck do we ever know if we have an ACE in the system if one of these kids cant cut their teeth in the show? It is time for us to stop asking for it both ways knowing that we can only have it one way! I mean really? No more excuses about having a "veteran presence" on the pitching staff! Is that not what the pitching coach is for? These guys are in the show for a reason! Now it is time for them to prove it! We are asking them to hold down the rotation for 2 to 3 starts a piece. And if we see promise in those starts well we are on to something! These guys are capable so lets give them a chance and see what they got! I dont see either of the three getting out pitched by Garcia.............enough of the veteran savy crap! Go Braves!

Birdhair
Birdhair

Day after the end of the 2014 season and O'Brien will sit down with FW and the first excuse by FW is injuries....7 seasons in a row you use excuse as reason for failure? 7 straight years of failure and the AJC wont say a word. Bradley will say oh, shucks, we tried hard and Wren signed Ervin Santana. Schultz might criticize Liberty Media, but his argument will be off base. Thanks, ajc writers. You guys play a big part in the reason why Atlanta is considered sports losersville. 

1995oneyearwonder
1995oneyearwonder

Garcia had a very good last outing. so, if that didn't matter, why not let him go a few days earlier ?

now that Liberty Media spent $14.1 on Santana, I guess they couldn't handle another $1.5 mill

since Floyd and Minor are no guarantees, and Schlosser is not an experienced pitcher, this decision is questionable.(like most that Wren does). nothing surprises me anymore. 

maybe they'll place Freeman on waivers next to try to send him down to AAA.

ERM016
ERM016

Eh, I'd rather have Garcia.

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@Atlantarama   Freddie G had some telling pix showing Wren in uncompromising positions doing what comes naturally.  Freddie (and the pix) HAD to go.

slydawg
slydawg

@AnsweredTHIS  I agree with your statement and I am an advocate of playing young players just to 'see' do they have the mental make up. But this is just common sense to me: Why spend $280 mil on hope when you could have had David Price, a "proven, young major league" pitcher? After what has occurred so far this spring, would it have really cost that much? It certainly wasn't $280 mil, two-three hurt pitchers, and 3, count 'em, 3 rookies on the opening day rotation.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@Birdhair you are a complete idiot hater dude... I bet your family HATES it when you get home.  The Bravos bats look great this spring, we get to see some young arms go early and have veterans ready to go in about a month.


Everybody was on the Nats last  year and predicting the same crap on here and LOOK WHAT HAPPENED.. we smoked the dang Nats.


With fans like this, who needs ememies?!  GO BRAVES

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@slydawg @AnsweredTHIS

I could and would have co-signed on David Price but did we ever really have a chance of Tampa trading Price? I dont know if that was going to happen. Here is the real deal, if we want him bad enough you take the money you just gave Santana and give it to him in his FA upcoming and we dont have to give up the prospects ( even if it was a chance to get him).  Tampa is not going to re-sign him at the price he is asking and the Braves did not have to get Texeriaed ( my term for what Texas did to us to build the team they have now)!

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@1995oneyearwonder Garcia's 2 starts before that were horrible, are you even watching the team you're on here criticizing so much?!  go be a nats fan please

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

@slydawg @AnsweredTHIS

I only hope you are wrong about 2-3 year rebuilding............I like this team...they are young and remind me of the Oakland teams over the last 3 to 4 years (with the exception of BJ and Uggla; but hey even that can change.......right?) Those young men in Oakland had no clue they were/are as good as they are.  No one heard of any of those young guys on the pitching staff ( Sorry I still cant name one.........I just know that they are young and they BRING it every time they step to the post).  The deal for these young guys is to be who they are. They are to young to have pressure, so they can go and pitch! Lets see how it works out!

slydawg
slydawg

@AnsweredTHIS @slydawg  I hate that hindsight is 20/20 but we all kind of "knew" what Glavin, Smoltz, and Avery were going to be. Everyone knew what Maddux was when he came here. It's not as if these are 20 year olds we are trotting out here (Teheran the lone exception). This current staff has reached it's ceiling (again, except for Teheran). Wren decided that since Liberty was willing to spend some extra money to increase their "asset", this idiot quadrupled-down on his current roster because it's a "nice basbeball team." The only player worth paying big money for was the the closer. Give Price $20 mil and have these second-tier starters follow him. Now that you mention Price as a FA coming up, Tampa would rather have something instead of nothing. But alas, this is another 2-3 year rebuilding project going into a new stadium. And the money is already spent.....