Garcia agrees to three-year extension

Updated: July 6, 2004, 9:22 PM ET
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Pitcher Freddy Garcia agreed to a $27 million, three-year contract extension with the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, 10 days after being traded from Seattle.

Freddy Garcia
Starting Pitcher
Chicago White Sox
16 5 7 0 91 3.35

The 28-year-old right-hander was eligible to become a free agent after this season, but the White Sox traded for him June 27 in the hope they could sign him to a longer deal.

Garcia's longtime friendship with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was thought to be a selling point. Guillen also is from Venezuela and is the second cousin of Garcia's fiancee.

"Ozzie had a tremendous role in it," White Sox general manager Ken Williams said. "The stars ended up ultimately aligning, but I think there was a little bit of aid in them aligning."

Guillen agreed his friendship with Garcia eased the signing.

"We talked about it the last three or four days," Guillen said. "We've always hung around together, on and off the field in Venezuela and Florida. Now having him in Chicago, I'm going to spend more time with him than my own kids."

Garcia will earn $8 million in 2005, $9 million in 2006 and $10 million in 2007.

"I think obviously for everyone's focus, for everyone's benefit, we needed to get this done as soon as possible," Williams said. "Fortunately he was open-minded to it and receptive to the numbers we were talking about."

Garcia, who makes his home debut Tuesday night against Anaheim, is 5-7 with a 3.35 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 16 combined starts with the Mariners and White Sox this year. But those numbers are somewhat misleading because he's received only 2.71 runs of support per nine innings, lowest in the American League.

He currently is fifth in the AL in baserunners per nine innings (10.99) and strikeouts, and sixth in ERA. Since the start of the 2001 season, Garcia ranks third in the AL with innings pitched (776.2), fifth in strikeouts (578) and eighth in wins (51).

A two-time All-Star, Garcia is 77-50 with a 3.90 ERA and 828 strikeouts in five-plus seasons. He has won at least 16 games in three of the last four seasons, and had his best year in 2001 when he was 18-6 with a league-best 3.05 ERA.

Garcia was acquired from the Mariners with catcher Ben Davis and cash in exchange for catcher Miguel Olivo and minor leaguers Jeremy Reed and Michael Morse.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press