White Sox trade Garcia to Phillies for Floyd

Updated: December 8, 2006, 12:45 AM ET
Associated Press

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- In the first big trade at baseball's winter meetings, the Chicago White Sox sent starting pitcher Freddy Garcia to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night for right-hander Gavin Floyd and a player to be named.

Then, Chicago general manager Kenny Williams mistakenly named that player.

Williams let slip during the announcement that the other player in the deal is pitcher Gio Gonzalez -- traded by the White Sox to Philadelphia a year ago in the Jim Thome deal.

"It's 11 o'clock at night, what do you want?" Williams said.

The winter meetings often feature one GM after another parading to the podium, ready to announce their latest deal. This trade was the first announced at the workroom podium this year -- and it came 90 minutes before midnight on the final full day of the meetings.

Garcia was 17-9 with a 4.53 ERA for Chicago last season. The year before, he won Game 4 of the World Series as the White Sox swept Houston to clinch their first title since 1917.

"He's had to pitch when it's on the line. He's had the opportunity to do things you want a pitcher to be able to do," said Phillies assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle, who filled in because GM Pat Gillick lost his voice. "He's going to fit nicely into our rotation and we feel like he's a guy that's going to be able to give us innings. He's a proven winner."

Garcia was traded from Houston to Seattle in 1998 in a deal that sent Randy Johnson to the Astros. The right-hander then was dealt to the White Sox in the middle of the 2004 season.

"We went out on a limb a few years ago to trade for him. I have no regrets," Williams said. "He handled the news with class. He's excited to be back with Pat Gillick. We're going to miss Freddy Garcia.

"But where we are in our evolution, where we are with our ballclub now is such where we needed to create room for what we also knew is a very special pitcher in Brandon McCarthy. We realized that if we're going to have any sort of sustained success, we're going to have to filter in some of the young players, and we think we've acquired two special ones."

Adding Garcia gives the Phillies a surplus of starting pitchers. Philadelphia was thought to have completed its rotation when it gave former Texas Rangers right-hander Adam Eaton a $24.5 million, three-year contract last week.

It's possible the Phillies will look to deal one of their other starters, probably veteran Jon Lieber, for bullpen help. Brett Myers and Cole Hamels aren't going anywhere, and 44-year-old Jamie Moyer signed a $10.5 million, two-year contract extension in October.

Gillick had also been looking for a right-handed bat to protect NL MVP Ryan Howard, but said he didn't expect to find one and turned his attention to pitching.

"There were a lot of suitors out there and a lot of creative deals that came our way," Williams said. "The best baseball deal out there was the deal with the Phillies."

Floyd was 4-3 with a 7.29 ERA in 11 starts for the Phillies last season before being optioned to Triple-A on June 3. The fourth overall selection in the 2001 draft, he turns 24 next month.

"I think Gavin's going to be a little bit of a late bloomer," Arbuckle said.

The White Sox traded Gonzalez to the Phillies in November 2005 as part of the deal that sent Thome to Chicago and outfielder Aaron Rowand to Philadelphia. The 21-year-old lefty was 7-12 with a 4.66 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 154 2/3 innings at Double-A Reading last season.

"We have to do what's best," Williams said. "We'll take a few punches along the way and hopefully people will say, 'Oh, that's why he did that two-three years ago.' "

And he isn't necessarily done dealing.

"The Chicago White Sox are still open for business," Williams said. "This is a good first step. ... As we move through this year and next year, we feel these two guys will be able to feed into that rotation in an as-needed basis."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press