The Freddy Garcia Question


(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The Yankees hit the lottery with Freddy Garcia this season, paying him next to nothing for 146.2 above-average innings. We’ve already had a Freddy Garcia Appreciation Thread and will surely wax poetic about him whenever we get around to covering him during our season review, but for now let’s take a second what the offseason could have a store for the big right-hander. Should the Yankees bring Freddy back?

Garcia’s base salary was just $1.5M this year, but he earned most of his $3.6M in incentives by making 25 starts (he would have had to make 30 starts to earn all of it). The reverse-engineered Elias projections available at MLBTR indicate that Garcia qualifies as a Type-B free agent by the skin of his teeth. He’s the last Type-B with a score of 60.271, just ahead of the unranked Jeremy Guthrie and his score of 59.981. So yeah, Freddy’s a Type-B by less than three-tenths of an Elias point according to the reverse-engineered rankings, which are not official.

The Yankees have to offer Garcia arbitration in order to receive a draft pick if he signs elsewhere, but the risk is that he accepts. An arbitration award would likely put his 2012 salary around $6-7M or so, about a $2M raise. That seems pretty reasonable to me if you’re expecting Freddy to repeat this year’s performance, but that’s hardly a given. There’s always a chance the two sides work out a handshake agreement like the Yankees did with Javy Vazquez last year, ensuring that Garcia will decline arbitration.

No one asked me, but I think Sweaty Freddy would be a fine back of the rotation insurance policy for next season. Not a number three starter you’d count on, just a veteran guy to have for the fifth spot. I can’t see why the Yankees wouldn’t offer him arbitration just to secure the potential draft pick, and if he does accept, then so be it. His 2012 salary figures to be very reasonable, and it’s comforting to know there won’t be a “welcome to New York” adjustment period.

Categories : Pitching


  1. Cris Pengiucci says:

    If anyone asks my opnion (which they won’t if they have any say in what the Yankees do), I’d attempt to negotiate a deal with Freddy for around 5-6 mil. If he agrees, great. If not, offer him arbitration and let the chips fall where they may. He either accepts arbitration or he walks and the Yankees get a draft pick in return. I agree, he’s great insurance as a number 5 who’s had a bit of success in NY.

    • Dave203 says:

      Agree as well. A good price for Freddy would be 5-6 mil, but if he won’t take that, we should go the arb route. Worst case scenario he declines and signs elsewhere and we get a sandwich pick. I still hope we can keep him as a #5, but if not, that extra pick would be nice.

  2. Andrew says:

    I like bringing Freddy back, and far more than bringing Bartolo back even if he has a higher upside at his current best. Freddy seems the better bet to replicate or at least come close to his IP total from 2011. Even if his performance falls somewhere between his 2010 and 2011 lines that’s still valuable when the alternatives are overpaying someone to be a back end starter, or rushing a prospect into a role they may not be ready for right out of the gate.

    Freddy would be even more helpful if the Yankees sign Darvish (total hypothetical obviously) and decide he needs some time in the minor leagues to acclimate himself to the American game. Then they could make do with CC, Nova, Freddy, Burnett, and someone out of the Hughes/Noesi/Other Non-Manny Banuelos Prospect pool until Yu was ready for the big leagues.

  3. David Ortiz's dealer says:

    I like bringing Freddy back he earned a raise. He seems apt to reproduce his production in 2012.

  4. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    That is a hard one to answer Mike. However having a junkball pitcher after a hard thrower does wonders. So I say offer him arbitration.

  5. Bavarian Yankee says:

    imo Sabathia, Burnett, Nova and Hughes will be in the rotation next year and the final spot should go to Wilson/Darvish. So where do we put Garcia!? tbh I’d put Garcia (or another FA) in the rotation and put Hughes where he belongs … to the pen, but I’m not so sure the Yankees think the same way.

    We were very lucky with Garcia this year and I doubt that he can do it again. It’ll depend on how the FA market works out but right now I’d say he won’t come back.

    • Dave203 says:

      I don’t see Wilson and CC being together, but Darvish is a valid option. However, why wouldn’t you take a chance at 5-6 million on Garcia as a #5 or backup if Hughes get injured (once again) or if AJ implodes (once again)?

      • Bavarian Yankee says:

        the question is if Garcia would do that? He showed that he can still pitch so he should look for a team where he surely gets a spot in the rotation.

  6. Jesse says:

    If Freddy comes back then who would be left out of the rotation to get someone like Darvish or Wilson? Of course assuming CC comes back as well.

    • Dave203 says:

      BREAKING NEWS: You are allowed to go into the season with more than 5 SPs. Let them compete for the spot. Odd man out waits for the first injury or implosion.

      • Jesse says:

        Very funny wise guy. But if they sign Darvish or Wilson there’s no need to re-sign Freddy because I’m sure Freddy thinks he can crack a starting rotation without there being a competition.

        • Dave203 says:

          The Freddy resigning would come before a Darvish deal. The Japanese deals take forever to complete. I just don’t get the Wilson talk. The only way the Yanks are in on Wilson is if they choose to let CC walk. I doubt they are giving up their 1st rnd pick, again, and signing Wilson for 5+ with what is coming in the 2012 FA market.

          • Jesse says:

            Still, the potential Darvish deal could enter the back of Garcia’s head. And like I said, with the season he had this year I’m sure he firmly believes that he can start somewhere where he won’t be in a competition.

            • Dave203 says:

              He may feel that way and may leave, but the least the Yanks should do is offer him arb and take the pick. I don’t see there being a feeding frenzy over 1 good season of Freddy, but if that’s what Freddy has in his head, go for it.

              I’d rather him be our #5/6, but would be happy with a sandwich pick at a minimum.

              • Plank says:

                It’s been 2 good seasons in a row now. Much different.

                • Dave203 says:

                  I guess if you think a 4.6 ERA is good, sure, he had two good seasons in a row. At your below proposed $10 million a year, there will be absolutely no takers. He would generate interest for team looking for an insurance starter or cheap back end guy, but nobody in their right mind can seriously rely on a repeat of 2011 from Garcia. Te Yanks had backups if Garcia failed, many teams would not.

        • Anchen says:

          Freddy was willing to enter into a competition this past year for a starting spot. He is coming off a good season though if that’s what you mean by him assuming he can crack a starting rotation without a competition.

  7. Plank says:

    Why is everyone thinking Garcia would get 6M-7M in arbitration? I think it would be more like 10M. Arbitration panels look at service time (He has a lot), wins (he has a lot), innings pitched (he has a lot).

    Arbitration panels are not made of sabermetricians.

    • Mickey S says:

      Isn’t it largely based off of their LY salary more than all the other factors you mentioned?

    • Dave203 says:

      There is no way he will get $10 in arb. They hear arguments from both sides and the Yanks would be certain to point out all of his flaws including his shaky past before this past season. Before last year, he hadn’t pitched well since 2005! He was injured and missed almost the entire season each year from 2007-2009. From the article I’ve read, they are predicting 5-6 million during arb.

      • Plank says:

        Look at the recent salaries that pitchers are getting. A reliable pitcher who can give you 150 reliable innings is valuable.

        Garcia will have no problem showing examples of recent contracts like Ted Lilly, Josh Beckett, AJ Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, and John Lackey and make an easy case that he belongs in that group both in terms of production and thus, salary.

        What other free agent pitchers (true free agents) have signed with anything close to similar numbers to Garcia and only got 7 million on a one year deal recently? You have to pitch poorly (Javy) to get 7 million. 10M doesn’t buy what it used to.

        • Dave203 says:

          Garcia is vastly different than everyone of those pitchers mentioned (how you included Josh Beckett into this argument is beyond me..). Garcia is a significant injury risk — he pitches less than 60 innings in 2007 and 2009 and less than 20 in 2008. He pitched to a 4.6 ERA in 2010 and suddenly, after 1 good season, he deserves $10 million a season. Laughable. He can take that argument to the arb table, but he will find out how ridiculous that is when they decide on 6 million.

          • Plank says:

            Arbitration panels work based on similar players and what they got. Who would the Yankees use to justify a 6 million dollar salary?

            He’s had two solid years in a row after 3 injury plagued years preceded by 8 solid years. That’s 10 out of 13. Again, sabermetricians may look at his career and be worried about aging curves and such, but arbitration panels will look at his 13 year career and see that he’s been good to great over that time and pay him accordingly.

            Again, who would the Yankees use to justify a 6 million dollar salary.

            • Dave203 says:

              Once a player accepts a reduction in pay to a base salary of 1.5 mil, they establish a new comparison bar for themselves. You can just go back in time and say what you were making 5 years ago and want that back. He accepted the 1.5 mil base agreeing that is what he was worth last year. Nobody is going to give him an 8.5 mil base increase for one decent season when he has shown nothing like that in 6 years.

              2010 was not solid btw. An ERA of 4.6 is not solid. That’s below average. You could argue for average, maybe, but where you get calling 4.6 ERA’s solid is beyond me. Furthermore, you still cannot ignore the 3 previous seasons to that where he pitches a collective 129 innings 2007-2009. Just because you pitched well early in your career does not relate to how well you should get paid later if you’ve stunk recently.

              • Plank says:

                His 2010 was average. A starter who pitches 150 league average innings is worth 10M on a one year contract on the open market.

                What is a single example of a pitcher like that who signed for less?

                • Dave203 says:

                  In 2010, out of starters who pitched more than 100 innings, Garcia was 104 out of 140 in ERA — BELOW AVERAGE.

                  In 2010, out of starter who pitched more than 150 innings, Garcia was 83 out of 102 in ERA — WAY BELOW AVERAGE.

                  Coming out of that now “average” season, Garcia accepts 1.5 million as his base salary. I would use himself as my one and only comp.

                  • Plank says:

                    Chicago is a hitters park. Looking at his ERA without looking at where he pitched isn’t really an accurate representation of how he pitched. He had a 93 ERA+. That’s close enough to average for a starter that I’m comfortable calling it average. If you want to say he was ever so slightly below average, fine.

                    Still, he followed up that season with a stellar one which should leave no doubts about his current abilities. He also has a track record of success going back to the 90s, other than that 3 year stretch.

                    I’m still waiting to hear of a comparison. There is not a single player that signed for the price you are saying within a relevant time frame.

                    • Dave203 says:

                      As to your argument that Chicago is a hitters park so he should be excused, then please explain why his ERA was 4.93 on the road and only 4.34 at home in 2010? No need to make excuses for a poor ERA.

                      As I said before, my comp his Garcia himself arguing that he is worth only 1.5 base when he pitches the way he did in 2010 off of 3 injury plagued years. The Yanks will offer the same comp to the arbitration board and he will get a repeat of the 2011 salary, but just all guaranteed this time instead of based on incentives.

                      I’ll give you 2 comps anyway though….
                      Harang — 2012 salary $5 million
                      RA Dickey — 2012 salary $4.75 million

                    • Plank says:

                      Those salaries weren’t negotiated coming off a similar season to Garcia’s. They are the latter part of multi year deals coming off of terrible years.

                      I’m still waiting for a realistic comp for Garcia this year. Garcia last year isn’t one.

                      As for the disparity between his home and road ERA, I’m comfortable with explaining that as fluctuation due to small sample sizes. 70 IP isn’t meaningful enough to parse it as closely as you are attempting to draw such huge conclusions.

                      You obviously aren’t going to change your opinion. Saying Garcia would get 5-6 million in arbitration is absurd but you seem to be sticking to your guns. If you disagree, then fine.

                      Someone else can pick up the flag and keep trying to convince you, but I presume people will just ignore it.

                    • Dave203 says:

                      There’s no picking of the flag since I don’t think anyone here agrees with your point that he should be making $10 mil a year. You can discount the comps all you want, but there never is an exact 1:1 comp. Every player’s situation is unique. Not everyone gets injured like Garcia for 3 consecutive seasons. Not everyone can blame a 4.6 ERA on a hitters ballpark.

                      Facts are that Garcia will be used as his own comp. No need to involve other players. Garcia, coming off his impeccable 2010 season boasting a 4.6 ERA, he accepted 1.5 million base from the Yanks certifying his worth as 1.5 million. He has one good season, out of the last 5, and you think he can argue to a panel he is worth 8.5 million more because some random other pitcher, who wasn’t injured 3 of the last 5 (60%), is making more than him. Good luck to him (and you) with that argument. They will find in favor of the Yanks in a heartbeat.

        • Plank says:

          Note: You can parse through that list of players I came up with off the top of my head and probably make a compelling case that Garcia isn’t as good as one or more of them, but the point remains that there are no similar comps that make in the neighborhood of 7M unless they are still pre-FA.

  8. nsalem says:

    I’m not sure about resigning him. He’s in his mid 30′s and may start losing some velocity on his fastball.

  9. IB6 UB9 says:

    Ideally he will get a two-year offer elsewhere and the Yankees get a 2nd round pick. (The 1st rounder they lose for signing Wilson won’t matter, since they target players down on the overall draft board.)

  10. Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan says:

    I like Freddy as a back end starter but $7 million is too much.

  11. Paul VuvuZuvella (formerly Nuke La Doosh) says:

    I think they should bring Freddy back but I also think we are kidding ourselves to pencil him into the #5 spot. We have A.J. in that slot, and maybe even Hughes.

  12. Carl LaFong says:

    Definitely go the Javy Vazquez route w/Freddy & handshake on an arbitration offering & Freddy declining it in order to procure the sandwich pick in the draft. Oh, & if Freddy doesn’t sign w/anyone & we still need a back end of the rotation guy come spring, we can resign him after May 1st. This is SO the right way to handle this!

  13. Norton says:

    7m+ from arbitration, using the Yankees as a reference?

    Man, next time iron workers go to arbitration, I want to face you guys at the table!….lol

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