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Posts Tagged ‘Freddy Garcia’

Last year, the Yankees took a low-risk gamble on Freddy Garcia that paid off handsomely, so this year, they’ve decided to roll the dice again.

Freddy Garcia will be returning to the Yankees’ rotation, but whom will he be joining?

Before the 2011 season, Garcia wasn’t a lock to make the team, much less the rotation, but the veteran right hander wound becoming a key cog, going 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA in nearly 150 innings. On any team, that kind of production from a fifth starter would be exemplary, so it’s not hard to see why the Yankees would want to bring Garcia back on a one-year deal worth a reported $5 million. The only problem is Garcia currently ranks much higher on the Yankees’ rotation totem pole.

You could make the case Garcia was the Yankees’ second best starter in 2011, so, it’s not too farfetched to think he might be the same in 2012. C.C. Sabathia remains the rotation ace, but after the big lefty, not much else is certain. A.J. Burnett has been so bad for two straight seasons that any positive projection has to be considered blind optimism. Also, although the Yankees may be quietly confident about Phil Hughes having a bounce back year, his struggles over the last season and a half are hard to ignore. Finally, Ivan Nova’s breakout 2011 campaign seems to bode well for the future, but the 2010 performance of Hughes is a reminder about how inconsistent young pitchers with little big league experience can be. In other words, the 2012 Yankees’ rotation is full of question marks, and the return of Garcia doesn’t really provide any definitive answers.

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Yesterday, the Yankees died by the double play. Today, it gave them new life.

Freddy Garcia was all smiles after recording his first Yankees’ win.

In a scenario eerily reminiscent of last Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to Minnesota, the Yankees took a substantial lead into the eighth inning, but watched as Rafael Soriano gradually frittered it away. With two runs already across the plate, Adrian Beltre lofted a long fly ball down the right field line that missed being a three run homer by about three seats. Disaster narrowly averted, Soriano escaped further damage by getting the Rangers’ third baseman to ground into an inning ending double play.

By escaping the jam, Soriano was able to preserve Freddy Garcia’s first victory as a Yankee. Over six strong innings, Garcia not only kept the Rangers off the scoreboard, but practically kept them off the bases altogether. Going into the game, there was some concern about how Garcia would respond to an almost three-week layoff (sans one relief inning), but the right hander featured a well located mid-80s fastball as well as a steady diet of even slower changeups and sliders to keep the Rangers off balance.  His effort was only the fifth quality start turned in by a Yankee, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Freddy Garcia’s Pitch Breakdown

Pitch Type Avg Speed Max Speed Count Strikes/% Swinging Strikes/%
FA (Fastball) 84.55 85.2 2 2 / 100.00% 0 / 0.00%
FF (FourSeam Fastball) 85.82 87.5 33 22 / 66.67% 0 / 0.00%
CH (Changeup) 78.33 83.7 24 16 / 66.67% 3 / 12.50%
SL (Slider) 78.83 81.5 16 9 / 56.25% 0 / 0.00%
CU (Curveball) 68.47 70.1 6 4 / 66.67% 0 / 0.00%
FS (Splitter) 78.67 82.7 3 2 / 66.67% 0 / 0.00%

Source: http://www.brooksbaseball.net

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The Yankees off season additions of Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia probably would have elicited a passionate reaction back in 1999, when both pitchers finished in the top-10 for the A.L. Cy Young award. However, with each hurler well past his prime and only signed to a minor league deal, both announcements were met with deserved indifference…that is, everywhere except for an isolated portion of an exclusive enclave in Miami where Alex Rodriguez calls home.

Over the years, one of Arod’s favorite sights has been Bartolo Colon in an opposition uniform. This year, he may be wearing pinstripes.

When the Yankees signed Colon, you couldn’t have blamed Arod if he shed a tear or two. In 57 career plate appearances against the rotund righty, Rodriquez had belted eight homers (including three in one game) and compiled an OPS of 1.515. Perhaps not surprisingly, since the last time he faced Colon in 2007, Arod’s offensive numbers have gradually declined. Coincidence? Pinstripes might be slimming to Colon’s waistline, but Arod’s offensive production could suffer the greatest reduction.

Just when Arod had the appropriate time to grieve over the loss of potential at bats against Colon, the Yankees added insult to injury by coming to terms with Garcia. If Colon has been the pitcher against whom Rodriguez has feasted the most, then Garcia has been his favorite appetizer. In 47 career plate appearances against the Chief, Arod has hit five long balls and posted an OPS of 1.449.

Losing the chance to hit against two prime targets would be bad enough, but both signings coming on the heels of Gil Meche’s decision to retire has only compounded Arod’s offseason of discontent. So, where does he go from here? He could always hope that neither Colon nor Garcia make the team, but rooting against the Yankees’ collective best interest would be a tad unseemly. With so many of his other favorite pitchers either in the National League or retired, it seems as if the Yankees slugger really has been backed into a corner. Call it a hunch, but if Arod opens the Spring by demanding a trade, remember that you heard it hear first.

Arod’s Hit List

vs. Pitcher PA HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
Jeff Suppan 36 6 10 0.433 0.528 1.067 1.594
Bartolo Colon 57 8 17 0.431 0.456 1.059 1.515
Gil Meche 38 5 10 0.419 0.447 1.032 1.480
Freddy Garcia 47 5 9 0.389 0.532 0.917 1.449
Steve Sparks 40 5 10 0.421 0.450 0.868 1.318
Ramon Ortiz 66 8 14 0.320 0.455 0.800 1.255
Daniel Cabrera 45 4 9 0.371 0.467 0.771 1.238
Ted Lilly 50 5 8 0.333 0.440 0.786 1.226
Kelvim Escobar 39 4 8 0.364 0.462 0.758 1.219
Jamie Moyer 62 6 12 0.375 0.435 0.750 1.185

Note: Based on a minimum of 30 plate appearances, including postseason.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

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