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Freddy Garcia won’t accept assignment to Triple-A if he loses Yankees’ fifth starter battle

Mar 21, 2011, 4:18 PM EDT

freddy-garcia-yankees-spring AP

Back-to-back poor outings have Freddy Garcia looking like a long shot to claim the fifth spot in the Yankees’ rotation and yesterday the 34-year-old veteran told Brian Costello of the New York Post that he definitely will not accept an assignment to Triple-A if he doesn’t win the job:

If I don’t make the team, what am I supposed to do in Triple-A?. I’m 34 years old. I’ve been in the big leagues a long time. There’s nothing to go to Triple-A and prove. It’s either I make the team or not.

He has a point, sort of, but it’ll be interesting to see if Garcia’s stance of going to Triple-A changes if the Yankees cut him loose and no other teams offer him an immediate spot on the big-league roster. He is who he is at this point, throwing mid-80s slop and trying to avoid injuries while posting an ERA in the 4.50-5.00 range, and a return to the White Sox seems like the most obvious scenario if Jake Peavy‘s shoulder problems linger.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Mar 21, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    And this statement makes him more attractive to the Yankees, how? When I was 34 a reliable paycheck from wherever was kinda important.
    I’ve wanted Colon all the time anyway.

    • lmno7 - Mar 22, 2011 at 11:52 AM

      Adios Fredo…

  2. SmackSaw - Mar 21, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    Garcia and Colon? Really? We’re talking about the Yankees? Right? It’s come to this? Disgraceful. This ain’t King George’s Yankees.

    • purdueman - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:50 PM

      I couldn’t have said it better myself, Smack Saw! From everything that I’ve read, Hank and Hal (each having only received a portion of King George’s after tax estate), are FAR more concerned about lining their pockets than the old man ever was. Consequently we are seeing the Yankees drift back to the mediocrity that they were in the 80’s by picking over baseballs scrap heap for starting pitching this offseason.

      Hell, the Yankees won’t even give Millwood a major league contract, and unlike Fatolo and Freddie is still a better proven innings eating veteran starter.

      Cashman is a liar too; a few weeks ago he said that there aren’t any proven veteran starters out there to be had, but that’s simply not true. The White Sox for one would part with Edwin Jackson for a top pitching prospect and a mid-level pitching prospect, as the White Sox could then simply move Chris Sale into the starting rotation. Hank and Hal though apparently don’t want Jackson’s $8.5M contract and would rather go on the cheap.

      You can’t convince me either the Phillies wouldn’t jump at the chance to trade Joe Blanton and his equally big contract (although he has 2 more years on his deal whereas Jackson only has one), for the right package of prospects either.

      • dan1111 - Mar 22, 2011 at 6:18 AM

        Actually, trading away top prospects for the likes of Edwin Jackson and Joe Blanton is exactly the sort of panicky move that George Steinbrenner repeatedly made. Not doing so is a sign of the Yankees’ newfound wisdom, not their newfound frugality. If they are so cheap, then why did the offer a massive contract to Cliff Lee?

        As a Red Sox fan, I wish you were right, but I think the Yanks are better run now than at any time in recent history.

      • nixonotis - Mar 22, 2011 at 2:14 PM

        Why would anyone try to convince you the Phillies wouldn’t trade Joe Blanton for some of the Yankees’ prospects?

        You want to give up Banuelos or Betances for Edwin Jackson?

        You do realize there wasn’t a damn thing available this offseason, right? You realize the Yankees tried to sign Lee to an ENORMOUS contract, right? You’re just being funny? Oh, whew. Okay.

      • purdueman - Mar 22, 2011 at 2:44 PM

        nixonotis: I fully realize that Banuelos or Betances are both top rated prospects, but so was Joba Chamberlain at one point in time too before the Yankees destroyed him with their silly “Joba Rules” while yanking him like a yo-yo from the bullpen to starting and back over and over again.

        The big question is, “Are the Yankees serious about wanting to make a run at a World Championship this season?”. If they do, retreads like Freddie Garcia, Mark Prior and Fatolo Colon aren’t going to get them there. Right now it’s the Red Sox division to win, and frankly there are too many good teams in the AL right now who are more likely wild card candidates than the Yankees.

        Before you jump on me about that last statement re: the wild card, stop and think about it. The AL East is hands down the toughest division in baseball right now, and come the stretch run that’s mostly divisional based, the teams are all going to beat up on one another while a team like the A’s, Twins, Rangers or White Sox will have a much easier path to the 95 or so wins needed to capture the wild card this year.

        Honestly Yankee fans, who would you rather play the last six weeks of the season? Cleveland, Kansas City, Seattle, the Angels? or the Rays, O’s and Jays? Therein lies the problem with the Yankees thusfar apathetic stand about their starting rotation being “good enough”.

        If I were Cashman would I trade either Banuelos or Betances for Edwin Jackson? How badly do I want to win it all? Mark Buerhle likely will be available too, as will Joe Blanton and I’m sure one or two other proven starters before the trade deadline as wannabe teams hopes start to fade. Prospects are just that after all… prospects. They haven’t proven anything yet at the big league level and can wash out just like Chamberlain and many top rated “can’t miss” prospects have before him.

        Yankee fan, do you remember “can’t miss” prospect Brian Taylor? Case closed!

  3. Old Gator - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Ollie is dead. Long live Freddy!

  4. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Freddy did say he’s willing to go to the ‘pen if they don’t pick him as a starter. Since the Yankees only use Mitre only for mop up duty, it wouldn’t be a huge loss if he was cut or traded and the team heads north with Nova, Garcia and Colon. Most inside speculation has Mitre getting the heave-ho.

  5. yankeesgameday - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    colon pitches tonight against the Rays. If he has a great outting I think he cements a spot as the 5th starter tonight and Freddy gets the long relief role in the bullpen. with AJ’s inconsistencies he’ll have plenty of chances to prove what he can do from the pen four innings at a time.

  6. uyf1950 - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Right now I think Colon has the inside track. But that could all change. Each pitcher has 1 more outing to make an impression. If they both pitch good Garcia will probably get the nod. I think it’s important to keep in mind I think Garcia’s last 2 poor outings is when teams started to play more of their regular players, that’s working against him. Mitre will break camp with the team, Girardi likes him. Besides the Yankees only needs either Garcia or Colon to be serviceable until the trade deadline when they either make a trade for someone or bring up probably Brackman from Triple A. So the selection of who isn’t really that important. With days off the early part of the season and then the trade deadline the #5 starter is likely to only get about 12 or so starts and maybe work 80+ innings.

    • purdueman - Mar 22, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      The Yankees are running out of time to make decisions on both Colon and Garcia, as both have “opt out” clauses in their contracts (which will be exercised I’m sure if they aren’t told that they’ve made the team for sure). I believe Colon’s opt out date is March 29th and Garcia’s March 31st.

  7. purdueman - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    Freddie will likely just retire if the Yankees cut him; he’s not going back to the White Sox. The White Sox are really happy right with Phil Humber as their spot starter/long reliever, and Freddie isn’t suited to be a reliever (nor does he want to be one either). Humber was one of the key players the Mets surrendered to the Twins in the Santana trade, but faltered after having subsequent surgery.

    We saw Freddie’s remaining ceiling last season, and he ran out of gas in mid-August. Humber on the other hand still has a high ceiling.

  8. pisano - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    I don’t see him as the fifth starter. He has gotten worse each start. He should think about another team or retire. It’s like SmackSaw said , has it come to this for the Yankees? I totally agree with uyf1950, hold on to Colon and Mitre until the trade deadline and see what shakes loose. If Garcia wants to walk, well… Ciao.

    • purdueman - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:10 PM

      One thing about Freddie and that’s that you can’t judge him based on spring training; For the past number of years now Freddie’s simply sucked in spring training. It will all come down to “is there a better alternative right now in camp to be the 5th starter?” (and if it’s Fatolo, that’s not saying much).

      Freddie’s a warm weather pitcher who never can get up for exhibition games or second division opponents, something that needs to be factored in when making the final roster cuts. If Freddie still has enough gas left in the tank to consistently provide quality starts against division rivals Tampa Bay and Boston, then he should make the cut. If though management just doesn’t see it, then it’s time for Freddie to hit the road, Jack!

  9. genericcommenter - Mar 21, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    With all due respect ( and all due awareness of how lousy Freddy Gracia is),
    It seems like people are nostalgic for a time that never existed or only existed very recently.

    I am a young guy, but I lived through a lot of “King George’s” Yankees. Freddy Garcia in his current condition would have been the ACE on most of the Yankees teams throughout the 80s and early 90s. Steinbrenner was always signing terrible over the hill pitchers or neglecting pitching completely. I think Jimmy Key in ’93 was the first decent starter in my lifetime- and he was the only above average starter on that team.

    The Yankees had terrible pitching for a long time, years without even 1 decent starter. Compared to those times they have a wealth of pitching. The team was great in ’94 ( sorry to remind everyone of that lost season) again with Key the only decent starter.

    In World Series era to present: in 1996- Pettitte was pretty good, almost everyone else was just around average. 3 regular starters had ERAs over 4.68, and Mendoza started 11 games at 6.74. 1997-Cone& Pettite, others below average w/ 4th starter 5.65. 98- was pretty good, 99- Cone very good, El Duque pretty good, everyone else average. 2000- Clemens, Pettite pretty good, El Duque average, everyone else terrible( 6.91,5.81!). Mussina came in 2001- so they had the guy who won the Cy Young along with the guy who was better and should have won, Pettitte was good, other guys slightly below average. When Wells came back in 2002 they had 6 above average starters. When Clemens and Mussina are 4th and 5th best starters, that’s a deep staff. 2003- Very Good 1-4, 5th sucked bad. 2004-2008: no more than 2 decent starters per season. 2008-Mussina only bright spot. 2009- CC, 3 slightly above average dudes, and a 5th by committee. Wang and Mitre started 9 games a piece with 9.64 and 6.79 ERAs.

    So, in recent memory the Yankees have only really had a deep 5 man rotation ( with a 5th man or committee that was near average) in 2002. They had 4 really good starters in 2003, maybe 2009 and 1999. Most of those years, including WS winning seasons they either had 2-3 good starters and a couple below average ones or 1 good starter and everyone else just decent, if that. They didn’t even have a 5th starter in 2009 ( WS).

  10. uyf1950 - Mar 22, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    After Colon’s most recent performance the chances of Garcia getting the 5th spot in the Yankee rotation are slim and none. and Slim’s waiting to catch the next train out of town.
    If Garcia isn’t willing to take a minor league assignment should the Yankees offer it he better hope another team was impressed by what he has done this spring to sign him to a ML contract.

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