We already knew that the Mariners and Jon Garland had agreed to the terms of a minor-league contract. The only thing left was for Garland to take and pass a physical, which wasn't to be a formality, since Garland hasn't pitched since a significant shoulder operation. Garland's in the clear, though, so he'll officially be in the running for a roster spot. He got himself poked and prodded, and no one had anything negative to say, at least about his shoulder or elbow.
A year earlier, Garland skipped a physical with the Indians, because he felt like he couldn't pitch. He felt like he got his strength back in the middle of the summer, and since then Garland has been throwing with no problems. He says he feels the way he used to, so there's a chance the Mariners are going to see Jon Garland at 100 percent at the cost of a small-commitment contract.
Of course, one can wonder whether Jon Garland at 100 percent is meaningfully better than, say, Blake Beavan. Garland's career FIP is 4.68, while Beavan's is 4.70. Garland has the higher career strikeout rate, while Beavan has the far lower career walk rate. Beavan's 24, and Garland's 33. Beavan isn't an awful pitcher, though, so it's handy to have a duplicate, for reasons pertaining to depth. Beavan has an option and Garland's on a minor-league contract, so either could begin the year in triple-A, if not both. Then you have arms available in case you need them who you can count on to not be embarrassing. While Garland isn't a great option for the rotation, better to end up having to give innings to Garland than to someone worse than Garland.
Garland was a reliable workhorse, right up until he last pitched on June 1, 2011. Then he needed major shoulder surgery. If he looks like himself in camp, however, I imagine he'll be treated like he's a reliable workhorse, as if the lost year and a half never happened. Garland is giving me that vibe of being one of Eric Wedge's guys. My brain is telling me that Wedge would love to have Jon Garland in his season-opening starting rotation. Which is really only a problem if someone else deserves the spot.
Garland took his physical with the rest of the Mariners' pitchers and catchers. His contract includes an invitation to spring training, but of course, Garland was already at Mariners spring training, at the Mariners' request. So I guess this means Garland can officially get rid of his guest badge. Had he failed his physical, I wonder if the Mariners would've uninvited him from spring training, or if the Mariners would've said nothing, leaving Garland to aimlessly pace around in a mental and physical limbo.
Garland: So should I-
Coach: No, I'm sorry, that's a players-only entrance.
Garland: Then what about-
Coach: Nope, sorry, that's a players-only exit.