Garcia deal great for Cardinals

Jaime Garcia will give the Cardinals a lot of value over the next four years. AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez

The St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a long-term contract with starter Jaime Garcia this morning, locking up their de facto ace for the next four years for $27.5 million. With Albert Pujols unsigned past this season, Chris Carpenter not up to his usual standards and only with an option year left on his contract, and Adam Wainwright's injury, St. Louis faces the loss of some of its key stars in recent years. By signing Garcia, the team gets some cost certainty with its best young pitcher.

While Garcia's ERA has risen half a run from last year while league offense has dropped, his peripheral numbers tell a story of a very young starter who didn't just avoid regressing in his second season in the majors, but has cut his walk rate by nearly a third, upped his strikeout rate to nearly eight per nine innings and continued to refine the cutter he only picked up in 2009 while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.