Hanging the Garland

Last Monday the Arizona Diamondbacks sent right-handed pitcher Jon Garland to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later. This situation became more bizarre when Jon Garland faced the Arizona Diamondbacks. Garland pitched well and beat the Diamondbacks in the last game of the series.

Tomorrow Garland takes the mound for the second time as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers and will face right-hander Dan Haren.

While Jon Garland was never a fan favorite I am still curious what kind of reception he will receive from the crowd at Chase Field. I am hoping that they will give him a positive reception as thanks for his service with the Diamondbacks this season.

Garland did not have quite the impact that the Arizona Diamondbacks had envisioned when they signed him during the 2008-2009 off season but he did give the team some stability which was definitely needed after Brandon Webb went on the disabled list.

Earlier this season I wrote a comparison piece between Jon Garland and Randy Johnson whom he replaced on the Diamondbacks roster. At the time it was a toss-up as to whether the Garland signing had benefitted Arizona or if they would have been better off keeping the Big Unit.

Since that time Johnson sustained a shoulder injury and at this point it is unclear whether he will be able to pitch again this season I thought it might be interesting to see how these two pitchers compared for the season had they been Arizona Diamondbacks.

Pitcher W L ERA G IP H R ER BB SO WHIP
Jon Garland 8 11 4.29 27 167.2 188 90 80 52 83 1.43
Randy Johnson 8 6 4.81 17 91.2 90 51 49 31 80 1.32

Given these statistics, the Diamondbacks were able to get an additional 76 innings out of Jon Garland than they would have from Randy Johnson but did not get any additional victories. Despite the difference in innings, Johnson recorded just three fewer strikeouts and 21 fewer walks. Johnson’s WHIP was better while his ERA was slightly worse.

By signing Garland the Diamondbacks were able to eat more innings and given the injury troubles the team has had this season they were able to minimize going to the minor leagues for yet another replacement.

Another benefit the Diamondbacks received was the ability to trade Garland and perhaps get a valuable piece that can be used next season and beyond. If rumors are correct and the Diamondbacks receive Tony Abreu from the Dodgers as the player to be named later it could very well answer the question of who will play second base for the Diamondbacks in the future.

Personally I would have still rather they keep Randy Johnson and allow him to retire an Arizona Diamondback. Hopefully fences will mend and Johnson will become part of the Diamondbacks family similarly to how Luis Gonzalez came back after his playing career ended. I would love nothing more than to see Johnson become a part of the Diamondbacks front office and be a Chase Field regular.

Until that happens we’ll just be left wondering whether the Diamondbacks made the right decision not re-signing Johnson and instead focusing their efforts on Jon Garland. Hopefully tomorrow night the Diamondbacks will beat Garland and the Dodgers and make the fans a little more comfortable with the trade. It may not be the holiday season just yet but I am hoping the Diamondbacks will hang the Garland and celebrate a win and maybe even a kiss under the mistletoe.


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