Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Freddy The Forgotten

As Cash makes his rounds on the preliminary phone call circuit to the cream of this year's FA pitching crop (Wilson, Edwin Jackson, Buehrle, Oswalt, etc.), one guy who hasn't received a lot of "real" talk is Freddy Garcia.  There has been mention of both sides sharing a mutual interest in bringing Freddy back for 2012, but right now that option is probably more of a last resort for the Yankees much like it was last offseason.  So what should the Yankees' approach be with Freddy?

Garcia greatly outperformed any and all expectations this past season any way you cut it.  He was, at times, the Yankees' 2nd best starter, and over the course of the entire season you could make the argument that he WAS their 2nd best starter, 3rd at worst.  His 3.62/4.12/4.36 line over 146.2 IP was a blessing in disguise for a rotation that could have been crippled by Phil Hughes' problems and A.J.'s all around sucktitude, and it earned him a Type-B free agent status this offseason.

This  is where things get interesting with Garcia.  The Yankees could offer him arbitration, which would lead to a higher dollar amount than what they paid him last year, and if Garcia turns it down they get a draft pick.  And given the year he had last year, Garcia very likely could get more money than what the arbitration number would come out to in the open market.  But if Garcia did decide to accept the arbitration deal, the Yankees suddenly have 5 starting pitchers again and somebody would have to get the boot to the bullpen if they're serious about pursuing any of the crop of previously-mentioned pitchers or Yu Darvish.

So what to do?  If it were me, I would offer Garcia arbitration as I think there are teams out there who would pay Freddy more for a year of his services and he would be wise to pursue those opportunities.  Also, the Yankees could try to swing a gentleman's agreement like they had with Javy Vazquez to not accept the arbitration offer, leaving them free to pursue their other targets and gain a pick and leaving Freddy free to sign on with another team who wants him.  In any case, Freddy is a good insurance policy for the Yanks to have in their back pocket.  He just might not be there for the taking as long as he was last year.

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