As the New York Yankees continue to wait on Andy Pettitte (aka the Brett Favre of baseball) to announce whether or not he will pitch in 2011, they added another veteran pitcher to their growing list of possible back of the rotation starters.
Freddy Garcia will join reclamation project Bartolo Colon, as well as Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre and Andrew Brackman as they all will compete in spring training for the fourth and fifth spots in the Yankees’ thin rotation.
It could be limited to just the fifth spot if Pettitte does indeed return.
But because of the above-named pitchers, I would have to say Garcia is the best of them. My reasoning is because he has an established track record as a starting pitcher and he proved last year that he can still get the job done.
Garcia, who will be 36 in June, has been around the game for a while now and has had a quietly solid career.
He burst on to the scene in 1999 with the Seattle Mariners, going 17-8 and finished second to Carlos Beltran for the AL Rookie of the Year Award.
After a down year in 2000, he put together his best year in 2001, going 18-6 with a 3.05 ERA, finishing third in the AL Cy Young Award, helping the Mariners to an AL-record 116 wins.
Garcia had two more double digit-win seasons in Seattle, then he was traded to Chicago during the 2004 season.
After recovering from shoulder surgery, Garcia signed with the Detroit Tigers late in 2008, but only made three big league starts.
In 2009 he returned to the White Sox and went 3-4 in nine games, and last season he finally bounced back and was 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA in 157 innings pitched.
For his career, Garcia owns a 133-87 record with a 4.13 ERA in over 1,900 innings pitched. His postseason numbers are pretty solid as well, in nine games started he is 6-2 with a 3.11 ERA.
He isn’t going to blow anybody away with his velocity and he’s not going to strikeout a bunch of guys (he only had 89 K’s last year), but he’s going to pitch to contact and get a lot of ground ball outs and he’s not going to walk too many either.
Last year he turned in a serviceable performance, and if he can win 10 to 14 games in 2011 as a back of the rotation starter, I would be satisfied and so would the Yankees.
So I think it was definitely worth it to take a chance on Garcia, especially since the Yankees got him on a minor league deal that pays him $1.5 million if he makes the team, which could be worth $5.1 million if he reaches all of his incentives.
A low-risk, high-reward signing.