Here are three reasons that Luis Garcia, not Cristian Javier, should move to the bullpen amid the reshuffling of the Astros’ rotation.
On Thursday, it was announced by manager Dusty Baker that the Houston Astros would once again be scaling back to a 5-man rotation now that Lance McCullers Jr. has a couple of starts under his belt following his return from injury. This is a necessary move given that the Astros shouldn’t head into the postseason with pitchers used to a routine of 5+ days of rest, but no one envies the decision Baker has to make as to which starter to shift to the bullpen.
For at least the next week, the odd man out is Cristian Javier. It’s a tough draw for him given the breakout season he has been having, but he has more MLB relief experience than anyone else in the Astros rotation. The Astros begin a weekend series at home against Baltimore on Friday night and McCullers will make his start as scheduled. However, Javier will skip at least one turn in the rotation as Jose Urquidy gets bumped ahead a day to start in his place on Saturday. Justin Verlander will do the same and start the finale on Sunday.
Yet, plenty of evidence suggests that the odd man out should be Luis Garcia instead of Javier. In theory, the Astros would be hurt less by taking Garcia out of the rotation than they would any other starter. While this isn’t an indictment on his potential future as a starter, especially considering that he’s only 25 and in a tough spot on a team with so many elite arms, Garcia should be moved to a bullpen role for at least the rest of the season for the sake of preserving Javier’s well-earned spot in the rotation. Here’s why.