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Freddy Garcia is likely to land the Yankees’ fifth starter job

Mar 24, 2011, 8:46 AM EDT

Freddy Garcia AP

So far this spring Bartolo Colon has pitched way better than Freddy Garcia has, with the former having a better ERA, allowing fewer hits, striking out more guys and only walking one in 15 innings of work.  But as you so often hear this time of year, spring stats should all but be ignored. The Yankees are ignoring them, George King reports in the New York Post, as they are leaning heavily toward naming Garcia the team’s fifth starter.

What it comes down to for Joe Girardi is health and durability. Yes, Colon looks good now, but he also didn’t pitch last year. The sharpness may be the result of playing winter ball, but maybe he runs out of gas soon after the season starts. Garcia, in contrast, is nothing if not durable.  Not mentioned, but also worth noting, is that Garcia suggested earlier in spring training that he’d not be inclined to be a relief pitcher, so the Yankees making him a starter may allow them to keep both Colon and Garcia, perhaps making Colon a long man.

As I’ve said in the past, championships tend not to be won or lost on the strength of fifth starters. Even in the rare instances where a team does use one guy as the fifth starter all year, that guy tends not to be anything special. The Yankees will likely be fine with Garcia. Or Colon. Or both. Or those two and two other guys splitting starts.

  1. garryfish - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:16 AM

    At least it’s not Oliver Perez

  2. proudlycanadian - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    I realize that championships are not won or lost on the strength of 5th starters; however, the bottom 4 starters on this team do not appear to be of championship calibre.

    • baseballstars - Mar 24, 2011 at 10:44 AM

      I’m a die-hard Yankees fan, and I agree. CC is a bona fide ace, Hughes can be ok, but then the (huge) question marks begin. I think at least one of the following three starters will have a good season, but who knows. I won’t pronounce the Apocalypse is upon Yankees fans, but this year reminds me of teams in the middle part of last decade – full of older, declining players playing key roles. We didn’t win a championship then, and we won’t now, either.

      • Jeremy T - Mar 24, 2011 at 11:10 AM

        While there’s definitely reasons for pessimism with the bottom 4, there’s plenty of upside, too. Hughes has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his young career, Nova has shown he can be a the very least solid (if his new pitch works out, I think he could be the #1 pleasant surprise of the year for Yankee fans), and there have been reports that Burnett was dealing with some personal stuff last year that might have affected his performance. There are plenty of question marks, but there’s also the potential for the pitching to be a strength (or at least good enough that the hitting can win it for them). The Yanks have to be the favorites for the wild card, and we’ll see what happens from there.

  3. purdueman - Mar 24, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    That big bellyache of a laugh New Yorkers are hearing this morning over this report is coming from up north… as in from the Red Sox nation!

  4. yankeesfanlen - Mar 24, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    I’d feel better with Colon, but we’ll see what haappens. And it will be a while before it really matters. If he’s good for 5 innings and gets the hook no big deal.

  5. uyf1950 - Mar 24, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    I would not be the least bit surprised to see the Yankees take Garcia and Colon with Mitre being the odd man out. Just my opinion.

    • baseballstars - Mar 24, 2011 at 10:38 AM

      That’s what I hope happens.

  6. baseballstars - Mar 24, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    Probably the way it should be. At least Garcia has a recent track record. Colon in the back-end of the rotation (lol)… maybe keep him on as long relief, or a backup plan in case Garcia or Nova falls.

    He’s better than Mitre…

  7. Kevin S. - Mar 24, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    Either way, the seat’s just being kept warm for Banuelos. They’ll slow him down during the start of the year in the minors so he can come up in July-ish and just beast it down the stretch. #wishfulthinking

    • baseballstars - Mar 24, 2011 at 1:01 PM

      Let’s hope… and let’s hope we’re still in it then.

    • purdueman - Mar 24, 2011 at 1:16 PM

      Mention my name next time you go into a restroom and I’ll guarantee that you’ll get a good seat, but I can’t guarantee that it will be a warm one!

      The Yankees totally screwed up Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain; bet they do the same with Banuelos too. Let’s face it, breaking in as a rook in New York is one of the toughest tasks to handle in baseball. The kid breaks in with Pittsburgh, nobody even notices is his ERA in his first season is 6-something; in New York though, the kid will get fried by the media if he does.

  8. cur68 - Mar 24, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    Ahhh, the finesse moves of a team re-building…good luck Freddy; I always kinda liked this guy.

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