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
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,"
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."