ChiSox add another arm to repertoire

Updated: June 28, 2004, 2:33 PM ET news services

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox acquired All-Star pitcher Freddy Garcia from the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, bolstering their rotation for the AL Central race.

Freddy Garcia
Starting Pitcher
Chicago White Sox
15 107.0 4-7 32 82 3.20

The White Sox gave up young catcher Miguel Olivo, top prospect Jeremy Reed and minor league infielder Michael Morse in the trade. Chicago also gets catcher Ben Davis and cash from the Mariners.

"It's hard for me to leave," Garcia said. "I do love playing here."

The White Sox were not the only ones interested in Garcia. The New York Yankees had been scouting him for several weeks. The Mariners called New York general manager Brian Cashman on Sunday and said they were prepared to trade Garcia, then called him back and said they had an offer they didn't think could be topped.

"We couldn't match that deal," Cashman told The Associated Press, adding that New York's prospects were not as close to being ready for the major leagues as Chicago's are.

Garcia, who can become a free agent after this season, will pitch for White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, one of his best friends.

"You've got to be a professional. Everybody knows he's my friend, but I want to do business," Garcia said. "I'll go there and pitch the way I can pitch."

Garcia was 4-7 with a 3.20 ERA in 15 starts for last-place Seattle this season. The two-time All-Star is 76-50 in his six-year career with a 3.89 ERA.

"We have an opportunity to challenge for the division in a better way," White Sox general manager Ken Williams said.

Miguel Olivo
Seattle Mariners
46 7 26 21 5 .270

The 25-year-old Olivo, who is batting .270, hit his seventh homer of the season off Cubs right-hander Greg Maddux on Sunday. He has good speed and a strong arm.

Olivo was too upset after the game to comment, a team spokesman said.

"It was one of the hardest conversations I've ever had with a player," Williams said.

"We had to make a tough call today, but ultimately we had to decide whether or not it was in our best interests to get a top end-of-the-rotation guy or hang on to a little bit of our future. As you all know, it's been a long time here in Chicago since we've done anything special in the postseason," Williams told ESPN Radio on Sunday night.

"We're just not looking at Freddy for this year. Hopefully we can sign him to an extension and he can be part of our future as well."

Garcia, 27, was one of the top pitchers available on the trade market. The right-hander should help solidify a rotation that already includes Esteban Loaiza, who won 21 games last season, and Mark Buehrle.

"I'm really glad to have him, but we are going to lose one of my favorite players in Olivo," Guillen said. "Hopefully, when Freddy comes to town, he can help us to do what we want to do. We picked up some good players.

"Right now we have a good pitcher who can hopefully help us a lot. There is a lot of pressure on Coop (pitching coach Don Cooper) and myself. We have to win."

The White Sox have struggled with their No. 5 starters all season. Jon Rauch's win over Cleveland last week was their first from that spot after eight losses.

No. 3 starter Scott Schoeneweis is on the disabled list with a sore elbow, and Buehrle has been hit hard in his last two starts.

"It caught me by surprise. I know we've been trying to get another pitcher in here, but I never thought Miguel was going to be the one who's going to go away," White Sox shortstop Jose Valentin said.

"When you try to get something good, you have to pay the price and give something good away, too. It's a good trade for us, and we'll see what happens."

After beating the Cubs 9-4 on Sunday, the White Sox were just a game behind the first-place Twins in the AL Central.

Garcia is scheduled to make his first start for Chicago on Wednesday at Minnesota.

"They'll get a good pitcher," Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi said. "Freddy came into spring training very, very focused. He has maintained his focus under a very, very tough situation. There were a lot of rumors. He's dealt with those well."

Without Olivo, the White Sox will use Sandy Alomar Jr., Jamie Burke and Davis behind the plate.

"Ultimately, the decision I had to make was were we better positioned with Freddy Garcia on our roster or Miguel Olivo on our roster, and not just this year but hopefully for future years, as we have every intention of trying to sign Freddy to a long-term deal," Williams said.

"There's no doubt that he was the guy that was the most coveted on the market."

Davis has split time this season between Seattle and Triple-A Tacoma. He appeared in 14 games with the Mariners and batted .091.

Left-handed starter Jamie Moyer could be the next to go for the punchless Mariners, who are 12½ games behind first-place Texas in the AL West.

Seattle didn't want to lose Garcia without getting anything back for him, and was looking for some young talent with offensive potential.

The 23-year-old Reed has eight homers and 37 RBI as an outfielder for Triple-A Charlotte. He was drafted by the White Sox in 2002 and is a career .334 hitter in the minors. Morse was batting .287 at Double-A Birmingham.

"Today we made what we think is a good deal for us," Bavasi said. "The White Sox made a good deal. It puts them ahead in their division, as far as personnel and trying to win that division."