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.