GLENDALE, Ariz -- After winning 17 games in his first season with the White Sox in 2008, many felt it was just the beginning for Gavin Floyd. If his career was an arrow, it was pointing straight up towards the sky.
But in the last three seasons, the 29-year-old right-hander, who has the stuff to be one of the best pitchers in the game, has statistically been reduced to a .500 pitcher going 11-11, 10-13, and 12-13.
Spring is a time for optimism. The past is the past. What you control is today. Ask Floyd about tomorrow and the season that awaits, and youll hear a man looking for big things.
I believe that I can win 20 ballgames, Floyd said in an interview with Comcast SportsNet.
Saying it is one thing. Doing it is another. Can he?
He definitely has the stuff to win 20, said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper. But its also a matter of scoring runs. You might be pitching your ass off on those days, but if on that given day we dont score or have trouble catching the ball, wins are very difficult to get.
Cooper continued, Is he capable? Does he have the stuff? Yes.
Until recently, Floyd would never have said on-the-record that he believes he can win 20 games. He was much more shy and reserved when speaking with the media.
Call this the new Gavin Floyd, whos now a seasoned veteran entering his fifth year with the White Sox, who hold a team option on his contract for 2013. He knows his potential and his ability to fool hitters. It might not show it on the back of his baseball card, but he says hes still the pitcher he was in 2008...and then some.
I think Ive become even a better pitcher even though I had better statistics in certain areas," Floyd said. "I feel like Ive matured and Ive got more experience under my belt. I feel like Ive grown a lot.
Gavin thinks 20 wins is possible. How about just matching his career-high of 17?
I definitely feel like I can do that every year, he said.
Floyd has a cell phone. He has a computer and the internet. He heard all about the trade rumors this off-season that had him being dealt to the likes of the Red Sox and Blue Jays. Hes heard them before, but this winter he felt it might actually happen.
I guess it was more realistic this off-season than others because the last couple years, my name had been brought up a couple of times, but this off-season, I think it was more often, Floyd said. I did pay attention to it a lot because you try to anticipate where your family is going to go, where youre going to go because thats very important to me. A couple of times it really became real. I was trying to think about what city I was going to go to or what team. Im still with the White Sox. I never got the phone call.
Now in Glendale for Day 5 of spring training, Floyd is firmly implanted in the White Sox starting rotation. However, hes aware that his 9.5 million team option for next season might be pretty tempting for contending teams if things dont go the White Sox way this summer.
Im here today. Im trying to live for today and whatever happens tomorrow, happens tomorrow, Floyd said. Im here with the White Sox. Thats what Im anticipating.
The same with 20 wins. Will he get there? We'll have to wait and see.