Sox pick up options on Garcia, Thornton
Chicago pitchers set for 2010 run with club
CHICAGO -- After thoroughly shutting down the Tigers over seven innings on Saturday night at Comerica Park, Freddy Garcia presented a fairly succinct analysis of his work to the media.
"I really didn't make any mistakes," said the White Sox right-hander with a smile.
The White Sox basically feel the same about the moves they made regarding Garcia and left-hander reliever Matt Thornton on Tuesday. The team picked up 2010 options on both pitchers, with Thornton's coming at $2.25 million and Garcia's checking in at $1 million, with $2 million in performance bonuses.
Garcia made his desire abundantly clear to stay with the White Sox in 2010, after joining the team via a Minor League deal on June 8. He backed up his words on the field, posting a 3-4 record with a 4.34 ERA in nine starts. Seven of Garcia's nine trips to the mound were of the quality variety, while averaging just over six innings and 92 pitches per start.
Left-handers hit a paltry .194 against the 33-year-old, who doesn't have the same zip as he once did on his fastball, but certainly knows how to pitch and work batters. Garcia also doesn't fear working in a big game, as manager Ozzie Guillen pointed out this past weekend when the focus became the move of Jake Peavy from the Cleveland series to the Tigers, instead of on 'Big Game' Freddy.
"That guy can pitch, there's no doubt about it," said Guillen of Garcia. "You have to beat him. He's not going to beat himself. He knows the hitters real well and that's his advantage."
Bringing back Garcia gives the White Sox one of the deeper starting rotations in baseball, with Peavy, Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd and John Danks. The White Sox can even go six or seven deep with young hurlers such as Daniel Hudson and Carlos Torres, although Torres appears better suited for long relief.
"As soon as we got Peavy, we knew we were going to be tough," Danks said. "Our goal next year is to be the best staff in baseball. There are other good staffs in baseball, but we feel we can compete with the best of them."
Thornton, 33, probably stood as an even easier call to make for the White sox than Garcia, if that's possible. The hard-throwing left-hander proved to be the team's most consistent hurler from start to finish, producing a 6-3 record with a 2.74 ERA.
In 72 1/3 innings, Thornton fanned 87, walked 20 and gave up just 58 hits, as opposing hitters batted .217 against him. The White Sox currently have Bobby Jenks in place as their closer, but if they decided to test the market with the burly right-hander, they have a closer-in-the-waiting in Thornton.
At the very least, the White Sox have one of the top setup men in the American League.
"It comes down to throwing strikes, being able to mix pitches," Thornton said. "Using my fastball and moving it around is mixing for me."
These moves made with Garcia and Thornton leave outfielder Jermaine Dye as the only option remaining. Dye and the White Sox hold a mutual option of $12 million, with a $1 million buyout. Guillen strongly hinted over the weekend in Detroit that Dye would not return, a tough decision for everyone in the organization, as Dye is held in the highest of esteem and has been one of the AL's most productive players since joining the White Sox in 2005.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.