Last week, we learned that the Cleveland Indians had agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with free agent starting pitcher Jon Garland, and that only a physical stood between the two sides making the deal official.
Apparently things have changed.
MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reported this weekend that the plan for Garland to take his physical Monday (as it was originally scheduled) was unlikely to work out, and he wrote Wednesday that he had not taken it.
Apparently Garland has not fully recovered from the season-ending shoulder surgery he underwent in July. He is still rehabbing from the procedure, Bastian wrote, and he’s “not in a position to compete for a job with Cleveland this spring.” This may suggest that Garland has had a setback in his recovery—right after the procedure was performed he said he expected to be ready to play by spring training.
It’s a shame for the Indians that the deal didn’t work out, as Garland probably would have been the best choice to fill the artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona‘s spot in the Tribe rotation. It shouldn’t be too big of a loss—between Kevin Slowey, Jeanmar Gomez, Zach McAllister, David Huff, and Scott Barnes, surely someone will emerge as a quality option for the No. 5 slot—but Garland had a better track record than all the other rotation candidates.
There’s always the possibility that the Indians could sign Garland later in the year if his rehab goes well; if they’re interested in him now they’ll probably be interested in him later. Although if Cleveland is looking for pitching help at midseason despite having so many rotation candidates already in the fold, it would mean that something has gone very wrong.
Garland, 32, is 132-119 with a 4.32 ERA and 23.3 fWAR in his 12-year MLB career. He’s spent most of his career with the White Sox (with whom he won a World Series ring in 2005) but has also played for the Angels, Diamondbacks, Padres, and Dodgers.