The case against Freddy Garcia

Just like last year, Garcia is pitching well this spring. He is supposedly still in a battle with Phil Hughes, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova for a rotation spot. The return of Andy Pettitte looms in May or June. Should Garcia get a spot over any of those other pitchers? Joe Girardi has already stated that the six-man rotation is dead (thank goodness). So that is not an option. And it sure seems obvious that the Yankees want one of those rotation spots to go to Phil Hughes. And that makes perfect sense considering the progress Hughes has made and the promise he showed in the past.

All hoopla aside, Michael Pineda is going to be in the rotation. Come on. Seriously? He has done nothing to prove that he doesn’t belong there and as Brien said so well this morning, Pineda’s secondary stuff is more than adequate to get major league hitters out. Ivan Nova has his doubters out there. But with the economy with which he pitches and his season a year ago, why should he get pushed out of the rotation? No, he doesn’t blow anyone away with his stuff. But the guy was impressive down the stretch last season. He didn’t lose a game in August and September. That guy gets pushed out of the rotation? There is doubt there? It doesn’t make sense.

And yet, Freddy Garcia has gone 24-14 the last two seasons. He is a known quantity and yeah, you could say he knows what he is doing. But isn’t thinking he can repeat last season a stretch? Garcia’s peripherals were nearly identical  to his 2010 season. In 2010, he had a 4.64 ERA, almost a full run higher than last year. He was basically the same pitcher though. The difference was a lower home run rate and a higher strand rate. His home run rate last season (0.98 per nine innings) was one of his lowest in years and below his career average. There is not one projection system out there that does not think the home run rate bounces back up to previous levels. There is not one projection system that predicts his ERA will be lower than 4.25. The Yankees got a bit of serendipity last year. The odds of a repeat are slim.

And frankly, once Pettitte is ready, Freddy Garcia is a moot point. The Yankees have the chance to build a young rotation that can serve them for years. To stick Garcia in the middle of that this year serves no purpose. Certainly, Freddy Garcia deserves to be starting somewhere. Trading him would be the fairest option for him. But if no trades can be had, baseball is a business and that is just the way it goes. Garcia has only come out of the bullpen twice in 329 big league appearances. So the bullpen doesn’t look attractive. But their are worse fates in life.

About William Tasker

William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at since 2003.

9 thoughts on “The case against Freddy Garcia

  1. Thanks Will. It seems it would behoove the Yankees to see if they can find a trade partner for Garcia. He would still be a good back of the rotation starter for another team. However, I remember reading on this site that they can't trade him until a certain point in the season. Could you fill me in on what that was and the reasons behind it? Also, do you think the Yankees could find a suitable trade?

    I'm also curious as to what you think will happen when Andy is ready. Who drops out of the rotation as they are still going to be +1 on starting pitchers even without Freddy.

    • I don't know the details, but have heard they can't trade him before June without his permission. But to think he would balk at a choice between the Yankees' bullpen and a starting gig somewhere seems to be a no brainer. There should be takers out there. Most teams need starters.

      By the time Pettitte is ready to go, a clearer picture of how the season is going should be happening. Pettitte simply takes over the weakest link. It's a complication for sure. But a nice one. It will be interesting.

      Thanks for the comment.

      • Thanks for the reply! I didn't know they could trade him with his permission. That makes things much more interesting. You would think they would keep him around as insurance until at least the time that Pettitte is back.

        If there is no weakest link per se, do you think they swap him out with Pineda to save his arm? Let's just hope they don't reverse course and go to a six man. *shudder* I agree this is all speculation at this point. We don't even no when/if Pettitte will be ready.

        • Insurance is always nice, but the Yankees also have a Triple-A team stacked with insurance options. Yeah, it's all speculation. All we can do is see how it all shakes out. For me, I'd prefer to see Pineda get his 30 starts in the big leagues. But that's just me.

  2. They agreed to give him the right to refuse a trade until early June in his contract. He may accept one anyway if it helps him return to starting, but he has also said he wants to remain a Yank as. He is a great insurance policy in my opinion.

  3. Players signed as free agents cannot be traded without their consent until June 15th of the prior season. Just to clear that up.

    • "Ensuing season," I think you mean. If only we could go back in time and prevent Cliff Lee being traded to the Rangers!