García, who turns 30 next month, agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million, with a $3.25 million club option for 2024, while Velasquez, 30, agreed to a $3.15 million deal, per a source. Both deals are pending physicals and have not been made official or announced by the club. So, what can the Bucs expect out of these two veterans?
García finished last season with a 3.74 ERA and 4.27 FIP across 65 innings. How García ended up with that ERA, in particular, requires further examination.
In April and May, García didn’t allow a single earned run across 17 innings. From June onwards, by contrast, García had a 5.06 ERA across 48 innings.
To dive a bit deeper, 13 of the 27 earned runs that García allowed came during three blowup appearances on June 1 (four runs), Sept. 6 (five runs) and Oct. 1 (four runs). Those outlier outings count towards his ERA all the same, but García would have had a 2.03 ERA if those games were eliminated.
Another interesting wrinkle in García’s 2022 season was the struggles with his heat. In 2021, García’s four-seam fastball had a Run Value of negative-12 and opponents hit .190 against his four-seam fastball with a .397 slugging percentage. In 2022, García’s four-seam fastball had a Run Value of 2 and opponents hit .245 against his four-seam fastball with a .459 slugging percentage.
García also struggled with his changeup, a pitch that had consistently been effective. From 2017-21, opponents hit .163 with a .276 slugging percentage across 203 at-bats against García’s changeup. In '22, opponents hit .259 with a .444 slugging percentage against it.
Velasquez had a 4.78 ERA and 4.25 FIP across 75 1/3 innings with an 8.24 K/9, 2.99 BB/9 and 1.31 HR/9. The right-hander appeared in 27 games (nine starts).
He began last season in the White Sox starting rotation, struggled out of the gate, hit the injured list in June and returned to the staff as a multi-inning reliever. While Velasquez has years of experience as a starter, the Pirates could use him in multiple roles, similar to Wil Crowe and Chase De Jong.
Velasquez employs a starter’s repertoire -- four-seam fastball, slider, curveball, changeup, sinker. Of that quintet, the four-seam fastball has historically been Velasquez’s best pitch. In 2022, his four-seamer had a Run Value of negative-6 as opponents hit .197 with a .352 slugging percentage against it.