Freddy Garcia, who had some great moments in a Mariners’ uniform after coming over from Houston in the Randy Johnson trade, has probably reached the end of his career. Garcia was released today by the Mets. Garcia, 32, had been pitching in Class AAA Buffalo, and not well. In his latest start on Tuesday, he could crank his fastball up to just 85 mph. His ERA is 8.18 in two starts. Freddy simply never recovered from shoulder surgery in 2007. He’s thinking seriously of hanging it up.
That got me to thinking about the evolution of the trades that brought Garcia to Seattle, and eventually sent him on his way to Chicago, where he won a World Series ring with the White Sox in 2005 (pitching seven shutout innings in the title clincher over Houston). I have a vague feeling someone else may have done an abbreviated version of this once, but I can’t remember to whom to give credit. It’s a fascinating study of the far-reaching effects of one deal. In this case, it all began 20 years ago, when the Mariners came to the conclusion they had no chance to re-sign Mark Langston, who was going to be a free agent after the 1989 season. The ramifications of the Langston trade are still being felt today, extending into the off-season blockbuster that brought Franklin Gutierrez, Endy Chavez, et al to Seattle. Let’s trace it back to the beginning, and look at all the tentacles:
(Just as I was about to post this, I googled John Halama to find out who he was playing for, and saw this post from Bleacher Report. Great minds…)
May 25, 1989: Mark Langston and Mike Campbell traded by Mariners to Montreal Expos for Randy Johnson, Gene Harris and Brian Holman.
Dec. 1, 1989: Mark Langston signs as a free agent with California Angels.
April 15, 1990: Mike Campbell traded by Montreal Expos to Chicago White Sox for Rob Fletcher (Fletcher never advanced beyond Class A and was out of pro ball by 1991; Campbell had stints with the Brewers, Rangers, Padres, Cubs and Red Sox, finishing 12-19 in parts of six seasons before being traded to the Yokohama Bay Stars in Japan’s Central League on Oct. 29, 1996).
May 11, 1992: Gene Harris trade by Mariners to San Diego Padres for Will Taylor (Taylor hit .223 in Class A for the Mariners in 1992 and was out of pro ball by 1993).
April 6, 1995: Gene Harris becomes free agent, signs with Philadelphia Phillies
June 18, 1995: Gene Harris traded by Phillies to Baltimore Orioles for Andy Van Slyke.
July 31, 1998: Randy Johnson traded by Mariners to Houston for Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen and John Halama.
Jan. 8, 2004: Carlos Guillen traded by Mariners to Tigers for Juan Gonzalez and Ramon Santiago.
June 27, 2004: Freddy Garcia traded by Mariners with Ben Davis to White Sox for Mike Morse, Miguel Olivo and Jeremy Reed.
July 31, 2005: Miguel Olivo traded by Mariners to Padres for Natanael Mateo and Miguel Ojeda.
Oct. 11, 2005: Miguel Ojeda selected off waivers from the Mariners by the Rockies.
Nov. 18, 2005: Ramon Santiago released by Mariners.
Jan. 4, 2006: Ramon Santiago signs as free agent with Tigers.
July 30, 2006: Miguel Ojeda purchased by Rangers from Rockies.
Dec. 6, 2006: Freddy Garcia traded by White Sox to Phillies for Gio Gonzalez and Gavin Floyd.
Jan. 3, 2008: Gio Gonzalez traded by White Sox with Ryan Sweeney and Fautino de los Santos to the A’s for Nick Swisher.
Aug. 12, 2008: Freddy Garcia signs minor-league contract with Tigers.
Dec. 11, 2008: Jeremy Reed traded by Mariners with J.J. Putz and Sean Green to Mets for Aaron Heilman, Endy Chavez, Jason Vargas, Mike Carp, Maikel Cleto and Ezequiel Carrera; Mariners also trade Luis Valbuena to Cleveland for Franklin Gutierrez. The Indians receive Joe Smith from the Mets.
Jan. 22, 2009: Freddy Garcia signs minor-league contract with Mets.
Jan. 28, 2009: Aaron Heilman traded by Mariners to Cubs for Ronny Cedeno and Garrett Olson.
April 28, 2009: Freddy Garcia released by Mets.
Note: Brian Holman went 32-35 in 2 1/2 years with the Mariners and came within one out of pitching a perfect game against Oakland on April 20, 1990. He hurt his arm and never pitched in the major leagues again after 1991. Juan Gonzalez played one-plus years of Class A in the Mariners’ farm system before returning to the Detroit organization. He is currently in the minor leagues with the Angels and has never advanced above Class AA. Andy Van Slyke played 63 games with the Phillies in 1995 and retired. Natanael Mateo never made it past Double-A with the Mariners and apparently is pitching in the independent leagues. John Halama went 41-31 in four years with the Mariners, then kicked around as a free agent with the A’s, Rays, Red Sox, Nationals and Orioles organizations, winning 15 more games through 2006. He is now pitching for the indepedent Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League. Mike Morse remains in the Mariners’ organization with Triple-A Tacoma. Randy Johnson is with the Giants, four victories shy of 300 (of which 130 came with the Mariners).