Freddy Garcia used to be a young fireballer for the Seattle Mariners, but few shoulder surgeries later he is more of a junkballer who looks nothing like the pitcher he was.
EXPECTATIONS: Garcia couldn’t find a team to offer him a guaranteed contract last offseason so he had to settle for a non-guaranteed minor league deal with the Yankees and even then barely made the team after a bad spring training. Expectations really couldn’t have been lower, he could have easily been this year’s Kevin Millwood or Carlos Silva.
REPERTOIRE CHANGE: Garcia used to rely highly on a mid-90’s fastball with an occasional curve and change. After a few shoulder sugeries though he now has a fastball that sits in the mid to high 80’s that he mixes with a forkball, slider, curve, and change. His stuff isn’t always pretty, but he mixes it well to get the job done.
STRONG START: The Yankees literally couldn’t have asked for more from Garcia. In his first 15 starts he didn’t allow more than four earned runs in a game once and had a 3.13 ERA in 92 innings.
FINGER CUT: Garcia missed time in August after he cut his finger. He missed about two weeks and in that time the Yankees called Ivan Nova up from the minors and switched to a 6-man rotation. That is probably the only reason he didn’t finish the season with at least 200 innings.
ROUGH FINISH: Following his brief stint on the DL Garcia only made five starts. He only threw 24.1 innings in those five starts and was hit hard as he posted a 5.92 ERA. However, unlike Bartolo Colon, there wasn’t a terrible drop-off in his stuff and after he shutdown the Red Sox over six innings, he made the playoff roster.
VERDICT: The Yankees brought in a number of veterans to fight for a couple of rotation spots and Garcia worked out as well as they could have hoped for. He made a base salary of $1.5 million with another $1.75 in incentives that he reached. $3.25 million is an incredible value for a strong no. 3 starter, which is what Garcia was.
GOING FORWARD: He was good enough that the Yankees will probably ask him to come back again next year. The catch is that while they are likely willing to give him a guaranteed contract this time around, a significant pay raise is out of the question.