ST. LOUIS (AP) – The St. Louis Cardinals traded left-hander Jaime Garcia to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday for a trio of prospects, including second baseman Luke Dykstra, the son of former All-Star Lenny Dykstra.
The Cardinals also got right-handers John Gant and Chris Ellis in the deal.
Garcia has spent his entire injury-interrupted career with the Cardinals, going 62-45 with a 3.57 ERA. He was third in rookie of the year voting in 2010, went 13-7 the following season while helping St. Louis win the World Series, and threw 171 2/3 innings last season – the second-most of his career.
But the 30-year-old with a history of shoulder trouble was also just 10-13 with a 4.67 ERA last season, and a glut of starting pitchers made him expendable. The Cardinals are expected to have Lance Lynn back after missing last season to an elbow injury, and Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Mike Leake and rookie Alex Reyes are expected to solidify the starting rotation.
The Cardinals also plan to have Michael Wacha start again, and general manager John Mozeliak has indicated former closer Trevor Rosenthal could be stretched out to start.
By jettisoning the $12 million option they picked up on Garcia for next season, the Cardinals gain the financial flexibility to chase down an outfielder, their biggest remaining hole. They already shored by their bullpen by signing left-handed reliever Brett Cecil to a four-year, $30.5 million contract.
The 21-year-old Dykstra, a seventh-round pick of the Braves in 2014, hit .304 in 81 games for Class-A Rome. He was voted an All-Star in the South Atlantic League.
He may have the biggest name-recognition, but the two pitching prospects may offer more upside.
The 24-year-old Gant debuted with Atlanta last season, making seven starts and going 1-4 with a 4.86 ERA in 20 games. He also made 12 appearances for Triple-A Gwinnett, going 3-3 with a 4.18 ERA.
Ellis made 28 starts for Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi, going 12-9 with a 4.49 ERA. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander was a third-round draft pick of the Angels in 2014.