Yankees sign Freddy Garcia, [insert joke here]

In another low-risk move that undoubtedly has the Yankee beat corps in stitches, the Yankees have agreed to terms with Freddy Garcia on a minor league deal worth a guaranteed $1.5 million. I don’t have much of a reaction to this transaction, other than that I have no problem with stockpiling arms for Spring Training to put pressure on everyone currently in contention for a rotation slot.

Basically everything we said about the Bartolo Colon signing applies here, except that Garcia actually pitched in 2010, and while he wasn’t exactly good, he still somehow managed 1.3 fWAR. If I feel so inspired at some point perhaps I’ll dig a little deeper into Garcia’s numbers to see if there are any curiosities in his recent poor performance that might suggest a turnaround, but my guess is probably not.

If you like insane projections, Bill James thinks Garcia will pitch to a 4.20 ERA (albeit a 4.52 FIP) in 148 innings next season.… Click here to read the rest

Garcia in on Minor League Deal

Via Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Yankees have reached an agreement with Freddy Garcia on a Minor League deal. Garcia marks the third formerly successful Major League pitcher the Yankees have signed to a minor league deal this year, along with Mark Prior and Bartolo Colon.

Like any Minor League deal, it’s hard to argue with this. It does nothing but add depth and give the Yankees insurance for Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre, and would allow the Yankees to give their pitching prospects more time to get Major League ready in case of an injury or ineffectiveness.

In 2010, Garcia threw 157 innings with the White Sox to a 4.64 ERA with a 4.77 FIP and 4.59 xFIP. He struck out 5.10 per nine, while walking just 2.58. His major problem was giving up 1.32 HR/9; that’s been a theme for Garcia’s career: 1.09 HR/9, though he’s been at 1.3 HR/9 or above in four of the last five years going back to 2006.… Click here to read the rest

Should The Yankees DH Montero To Keep His Bat In The Lineup?

Keith Law ranked Jesus Montero 4th among all prospects in his recent prospect rankings, and made a very interesting comment about Montero’s future that struck me as fodder for discussion:

There’s also a concern about the long-term effects that catching will have on Montero’s knees. He is listed at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, and only five players in MLB history have caught 200 games at or above those numbers, three of them (Joe Mauer, Chris Snyder, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia) have had knee and/or back problems.

With a bat this potentially strong, why risk injury or give up the 20-25 games a year when your catcher has to rest? Montero could solve the Yankees’ DH problem for the next 10 years if they commit to it, a move they are unlikely to ever regret.

Brian Cashman recently stated that the Yankees believe Montero is better defensively than some catchers currently starting in the majors, which is faint praise but does suggest that they believe he can handle the position.… Click here to read the rest

Rob Neyer to leave ESPN

I can remember hiding in a cubicle (and later an office) to check into Rob’s chats on ESPN, even his I’ll-top-Simmons’-record-chat from back on Opening Day in 2008. I’m probably “in” that chat at some point but I’m not looking back through that archive to find my name. Of course, back then, just getting a question answered by Neyer in a chat was a pretty big deal for me.

On Opening Day 2008, my original blog was just about three months old. The number of readers aside from family could probably be counted on two hands, max.  Time sure flies.

I’ve told the story before, but given today’s official news, it bears a quick retell:

During one of Rob’s chats in the late Fall 2007, someone asked Rob which non-mainstream blogs he reads regularly and he mentioned one called Shysterball. Now, leading up to this, I had been dabbling in some fantasy baseball writing but it wasn’t scratching my itch.… Click here to read the rest

End of an era: Neyer leaves ESPN

You no doubt will have heard the news by the time you read this post, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that Rob Neyer is leaving ESPN.com after 15 years of service. I remember first reading Rob if not in 1996 when he began, shortly thereafter, as I have a vivid memory of inputting ESPN’s clunky old URL, ESPNet.Sportszone.com into my browser and wondering why they opted for such a goofy moniker. Of course, these were the pre-Google days of the Internet, which for all intents and purposes may as well have been 1,000 years ago, and I imagine a cybersquatter had the foresight to purchase espn.com early on, forcing the company to shell out the dough when it finally came time for entities to have true branded URLs.

At some point — I can’t remember when exactly — Neyer’s column was thrust behind the pay wall, and never seeing the utility in paying for content when I could get a close enough approximation elsewhere for free, that more or less marked the end of my daily dose of Neyer.… Click here to read the rest

Granderson’s Goodwill Tour Helps Ripen Kiwis' Interest in Baseball; Sport’s International Footprint Continues to Grow

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog).

Yankees’ CF Curtis Granderson recently returned from a goodwill tour of New Zealand, where he not only experienced the unique culture of the island nation, but also served as an ambassador to the country’s fledgling baseball community. Naturally, Granderson’s activities were mostly ignored by the New York tabloids. Wallace Mathews of ESPNNewYork did briefly cover the trip in a blog post, but only to drum up controversy by linking to video of the centerfielder riding on the backseat of a motorcycle.

Fortunately, in this age of social media, fans were able to tag along on Granderson’s trip by following his travels on youtube, twitter, Yankees.com and his charitable organization’s website (grandkidsfoundation.org). In addition to the aforementioned motorcycle tour, Granderson also embarked on other cultural adventures (including meeting Prime Minister John Key, whose son plays baseball), but mostly focused on the country’s athletic scene, including visits with professional basketball, cricket and rugby teams.… Click here to read the rest

A Tale of One Hot Stove Season

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. (Writer’s Note: I may not have come up with that line on my own)

As the Hot Stove season winds to a close and pitchers and catchers start reporting and Spring Training begins, we’re going to see a lot of articles grading the Yankees’ offseason. If I’m a good predictor, which I think I can be at times, many of these columns are going to be negative in nature. The case? They’re going to probably call the Yankee offseason a failure because they didn’t land Cliff Lee. They didn’t land Jayson Werth. They didn’t land Carl Crawford. They didn’t trade for Zack Greinke.

I’m going to put myself in a camp that may be a little lonesome: the 2010-2011 Hot Stove Season was a success for the New York Yankees. While I am not a fan of the Rafael Soriano contract, it does strengthen the team for 2011.… Click here to read the rest

Swish Wants to Stay

Way back on November 29 of last year, I wrote a piece looking forward to the 2011-2012 Hot Stove season. On the list of possibly expiring contracts was fan favorite, Nick Swisher.

Like Cano, Nick Swisher has an option for the 2012 season ($10.25MM) with a $1MM buy out. The OF FA class of 2012 doesn’t look particularly strong and Swisher’s got a skill set that should age well. He’s also gotten himself into very good shape and doesn’t have a body that is likely to break down. I’d bet on the Yankees picking up that relatively cheap option and keeping Nick on patrol in YSIII’s right field.

Via LoHud:

“I don’t want to leave New York,” Swisher said. “This is the place to be. I love it. I absolutely love it… Meeting my wife, and Kevin Long, and the city of New York just completely resurrected my career.”

Since day one, Nick Swisher has fit in with the Yankees in every way possible.… Click here to read the rest