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SF Giants: The Arbitration Case for Lefty Jarlin Garcia

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 06: Jarlin Garcia #76 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning at Oracle Park on September 6, 2020 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 06: Jarlin Garcia #76 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning at Oracle Park on September 6, 2020 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Lefty Jarlin Garcia is eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career, but what are the odds that the SF Giants tender him a contract?

The SF Giants must decide whether to tender contracts to nine arbitration-eligible players prior to the December 2, 2020 deadline. After a good campaign in 2020, Jarlin Garcia has built himself a solid case for returning in 2021

Jarlin Garcia Before 2020

From 2017-2019, Jarlin Garcia worked extensively out of the Miami Marlins bullpen. In those years, he posted a 4.29 ERA (4.92 FIP) with a 17.1 percent strikeout rate against an 8.6 percent walk rate.

This included a strong season in 2019 in which the left-handed hurler posted a 3.02 ERA (3.77 FIP) with 39 strikeouts and 16 walks across 50.2 frames. At that time, he has established himself as a quality bullpen arm.

Despite flashing a fastball that sits in the low-90’s and a good changeup and slider, Garcia has never been known for racking up high strikeout totals.

Oddly, the Marlins placed the southpaw on waivers in February of 2020. Perhaps, they felt his peripherals were much less favorable than his ability to prevent runs, and eventually that latter trait would erode.

With some pitchers, especially in today’s game, it is not about getting the hitter out, but rather how you got the hitter out. Evidently, the Marlins did not like how Garcia registered outs.

Jarlin Garcia with the SF Giants in 2020

Seeing that a quality arm was on waivers, the Giants placed a claim on the young lefty.

Since joining the Giants, Garcia has been superb. In 18.1 innings, he posted a 0.49 ERA (3.14 FIP) with a 19.2 percent strikeout rate against a 9.6 percent walk rate.

The walk rate is a little high, but opposing hitters struggled to barrel him up as they produced a paltry .180 batting average with only two extra-base hits. The 27-year-old did not show extreme platoon splits either, so he has the potential to become a leverage arm.

The Giants had the southpaw use his fastball at a higher rate in 2020 (48.6 percent) than he had in 2019 (39.9 percent). It had been a poorly-rated pitcher earlier in his career, but it was the most valuable pitch in his arsenal in 2020.

Should the SF Giants Tender a Contract for Jarlin Garcia?

While the Giants have some tough decisions on their arbitration-eligible players, this is not one of them. Next year’s bullpen remains mostly up in the air, and Garcia proved to be a solid addition with the potential to carve out a key role.

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Given that the lefty is projected to earn between $900k – $1.3 million in his first trip through arbitration, Garcia will remain a good bargain. The SF Giants should definitely tender a contract for Garcia for 2021.

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