In Bartolo and Freddy we trust?

Phelps finishes AzFL strong
Mailbag: Volstad, Stetter, Hannahan, Harang

All is quiet on the Yankee front these days, and it isn’t one of Brian Cashman‘s stealth-quiet periods that turns into a surprise signing of Mark Teixeira. Rather, the Yankees are waiting to see what comes to them. They’re rightly cool on C.J. Wilson but have to fill some starting pitching holes. What’s a $200 million team to do?

Last year, when the Yanks found themselves in a similar situation following Cliff Lee’s departure to Philadelphia and Andy Pettitte‘s retirement, Brian Cashman turned to the scrap heap. For a few million dollars, his coaching staff coaxed 51 starts and over 300 innings from Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. It was the biggest surprise of the Yankee season, and now, early yet in the Hot Stove League, the Yanks’ GM is, at least publicly, wondering if he can capture lightning in bottle again.

In comments yesterday to ESPN New York, both Cashman and his boss Hal Steinbrenner talked about bringing back Big Bart and Sweaty Freddy. “I have an interest in both Freddy and Bartolo,” Cashman said. “Those guys all did a good job for us, a really good job.” Echoed Steinbrenner, “Absolutely, that’s something we’d consider. It worked out pretty well last year.”

That it sure did, Hal. That it sure did.

In its coverage of these statements, ESPN New York turns this into some sort of money issue. The pair made around $2.6 million combined before incentives and both would like a raise. That’s not a problem. The Yanks have rotation holes to fill and money to spend. Garcia may be itching for a multi-year deal, and that is a potential hurdle. Yet there’s a larger question at play: Should the Yanks even be considering these two?

If we play the not-so-arbitrary endpoint game, it’s very easy to make a case against Bartolo Colon. Through his first 78.1 innings, he had a 3.10 ERA and a K rate topping 8 per 9 IP. He wasn’t walking many guys and was thriving mainly on a fastball. After suffering a hamstring injury and returning in early July, he had a 4.81 ERA over 86 innings and saw his walk rate climb while his strike outs dipped by over 1.5 per 9 innings.

As expected, his velocity fell off by year’s end, and he wasn’t nearly as efficient with his pitches. Colon will turn 39 in May, and no one is sure how much more his surgically repaired shoulder can take. At a low cost and with little riding on it, the Yanks could bring him back to camp, but if they’re counting on him for another 164 innings, I hope they have a good back-up plan.

Meanwhile, Garcia, who didn’t reach the 150-inning mark due to some mysterious cut on his finger, also struggled post-injury. In his first 20 games, he sported a 3.22 ERA and decent peripherals over 117.1 innings. Thanks to one disastrous outing vs. the Orioles and a bad start against the Angels, his post-injury numbers were ugly. He walked 11 while striking out 16 and giving up seven home runs in 29.1 innings. It’s tough though to put much stock in 29.1 innings.

For Garcia, the questions concern durability. He has thrown over 300 innings since the start of 2009 but he threw just 129 over the three prior years. He did a good job keeping the ball in the park this year, and that’s what fueled his success as his walk rate was higher in 2011 than in 2010. He turned 35 during the ALDS and giving him more than a season might be inviting trouble.

To me, Colon and Garcia represent the Yanks’ last resorts. What they did in 2011 made from some great stories and fun games. They defied age and expectations to help lead the Yanks to a championship title. To expect them to do it again may be putting blind faith into pitchers who don’t deserve, and the Yanks would be better served looking elsewhere for some upgrades.

Phelps finishes AzFL strong
Mailbag: Volstad, Stetter, Hannahan, Harang
  • RalphieD

    i agree that bartolo and freddy can not be relied on to provide the same results as last year, but i suspect one of them will be in the rotation opening day anyways.

    something about this doesnt sound right “To me, Colon and Garcia represent the Yanks’ last resorts. What they did in 2011 made from some great stories and fun games. They defied age and expectations to help lead the Yanks to a championship title.” I think championship needs to be changed to division, unless i missed something over the past month :)

  • candyforstalin

    that’s just good analysis.

  • Tom

    The other wildcard I think the Yankees should look at if he can be had cheaply is Eric bedard. They can start Noesi in AAA (who needs to be starting anyway and not wasting away as a longman) who can be first one up if/when Bedard gets hurt or Hughes is ineffective.

    Probably not a high probability of success but Bedard still has stuff where it could be potentially a huge reward if he stays healthy.

    If you start Noesi in the minors, it might be worth looking at Bartolo as the long man in the pen (which is what was the original plan last year anyway)… although he’s probably looking for one last shot at a starter spot with someone.

    Given questions around Hughes, AJ and if they sign a filler arm like Garcia (or Bedard)… the Yankees need probably 2 potential backup options (1 would be Noesi, the other could be someone stashed in the long relief role… I’m not sure any of the AAA arms would be a viable option for an extended period of time)

    • Chen Meng Wang

      No. I wouldn’t want Eric Bedard on the Yankees if I was getting payed for him to start games. Dude had two good years in Baltimore, got hurt and hasn’t been good since. If you want to sign him to take Kei Igawa’s place as the number one starter for our AAA offiliate maybe.

      • FIPster Doofus

        Bedard is still good when he actually pitches.

        • Dave203

          The problem is, he never stays healthy. I have no issue if they want to sign him with the expectation of no more than 100 innings, but they can’t rely on him (or hope) to pitch more than that. Just please pay him accordingly because you’re getting only getting half what a SP should give you.

          • FIPster Doofus

            I agree.

          • JAG

            Why not an incentive-laden contract? Everyone knows Bedard’s schtick now, I don’t see why he wouldn’t take a contract that could pay him, say, $5MM if he manages to actually give the team 200 innings at the level that Healthy Bedard usually gives, but will only pay out maybe $1MM if he does what he usually does and goes down after 8-10 starts. Not sure how the incentives would be structure, but if he could be had on such a contract, he seems like he could be a very nice bargain.

            • Benjamin Kabak

              The last time Bedard threw 200 innings was never, and the 129 he threw last year were the most he’s thrown since 2007. I’m not sure counting on him is any better than counting on Garcia or Colon.

  • Brian S.

    “They defied age and expectations to help lead the Yanks to a championship title”

    Wait, we won the World Series and I didn’t even notice? WOOHOO!

  • Chuck

    I think Garcia is a no-brainer. Bart was great but I’d bet against him being half as durable next season. Sign garcia again and hope for the best aj and Hughes possible. I think cashman has been spot on the last 3 years. Aceves being the only one I woulda resigned.

  • hogsmog

    I don’t understand why Garcia’s durability is that hard to gauge. He’s dealing ephus pitches- what’s there to lose?

  • David in Cal

    I think everyone is saying the same thing. It’s a good idea to bring Bartolo and Freddy to camp, but they shouldn’t be counted on.

    I’m more concerned about the post-season. We have to have more than one better-than-average SP to have a real hope of another World Championship. Maybe Hughes or Nova will develop into a better than average pitcher; maybe not.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    Many good points were commented about in prior replies. Such as the championship,playoff caliber pitchers and Freddie and Bartolo. I would forget Colon, toasted to a crisp.Freddie if no one else is available. My rotation of choice is CC, Nova, Hughes,Noesi and or trade/FA/AAA. If any of the rotation mentioned falter or injured work deeper into AAA make a deal or go with Freddie. There are choices before Freddie or Bartolo. I subscribe to give the young guys a shot. It works for other clubs. We see it all the time.

    I like Danks, Burhele and if necessary CJ for 4 with an option if pushed against the wall. CJ will be overpriced in the beginning of free agency but if he doesn’t sign. We could get ourselves a decent pitcher who doesn’t perform during the playoffs at this time.

  • nycsportzfan

    I’m getting sick of basically realizing day 1, that our Yanks are gonna battle for a playoff spot and most likely make it, but almost certainly won’t Win it all.. I mean, jesus! Make a freaking Trade for either gio, danks, or jurrjiens! U got Gary Sanchez, Montero, Gardner, Nova, Nunez, Murphy, Warren, Phelps, Joseph, Marshall, Noesi, Kontos, Romine, Betances, Heathcott, Mason williams, Bichette, Culver, all in the farm, and its impossibly for a team with so many long term contracts to get all those guys to play on the big club together, and the best way to Add top pitching is VIa trade… Its the only way were getting at least a chance at adding another true Stud pitcher, and young stud at that… I don’t even know why were discussing this.. We need some top pitching so we can mask the games when our lineup of mostly streaky power hitters aren’t hitting HR’s, or were just gonna be what we are every yr, which is good enough to beat on Weak teams through a long Regular season, and most likely make the playoffs, and then lose quickly, or possibly 2nd round of playoffs.. Is this rocket science? Our best bet is to get on the horn and Give up a few prospects, and go forward with what u have left in the farm, which will still be pretty freaking good no matter who u trade for one of those pitchers i named above, and then u also got the pitcher u traded for.. This whole Freddy and Colon thing is stupid to say the least. We all knew they weren’t gonna help all yr and cost us eventually last yr, and Colon and Garcia both faltered down the stretch, and neither one of em were anyone you felt comfy with starting a postseason game by seasons end… Lets get real here!
    Just seems we keep wasting these expensive Rosters, by not making the extra move to bring in what could be the Icer of a WS team…

    Gio, Jurrjiens, Danks
    Edwin Jackson?
    Hughes or BUrnett


    • Ted Nelson

      So Jurrjens is answer to all the Yankees problems and you’re upset with anyone who disagrees? Guy hasn’t topped 1.5 fWAR the past two seasons.

      • nycsportzfan

        upset with anyone who dissagrees? What are u talking about? I didn’t direct my post at any fan at Your strange…

    • thenamestsam

      I recommend you do a little research on the year 2009 and see what turns up.

      • nycsportzfan

        I’m talking about as a whole, we’ve put together a ton of highly priced yankee teams, over the past 6-7 seasons, and don’t make that final push for the last piece, leaving the big hole that kills us every yr come postseason, weather thats a lack of enough starting pitching, or true “hitters” to complement our power hitters.. If anything, u proved my point, by pointing out 2009, because we actually did go the extra mile that yr, getting the Pitchers in CC and AJ, and also the big bat that can hit for AVG and Power… Assuming Montero is not just a streaky power hitter, and hits for solid AVG, then he’ll be a huge upgrade to that situation, and that leaves pitching, and when u got the farm we got, and you can go get a 25-26 yr old whos pitched pretty darn good all ready, u do it, especially when you’ll still have a solid core group of minor leaguers even after the deal..

    • Steve (different one)

      I love this idea that Gio Gonzalez is going to move to Yankee stadium and walk 4 guys a game and be an ace.

      • nycsportzfan

        Gio Gonzalez is 25yrs old for heavens sake! Meaning, hes on the verge of his prime seasons, and we’ve all ready gotten a great taste of what that could look like, with what hes done to this point.. The kids upside is through the roof, and it woulden’t surprise me if he ended up being our best pitcher, if we got him.. Its ridiculous, that u people talk about scrubs like Colon and Garcia, and knock guys like Jurrjiens and Gonzalez.. Those are bonafied young studs, who are entering there primes… Either one would be a Giant upgrade to what we got! And as far as our farm, we’ll still have enough of a core group to go forward with.. Its a no brainer, as long as the A’s or Braves take at least a reasonable deal…

      • nycsportzfan

        uhhh, Gio Gonzalez walked less then 4guys in a game 23 of his 32 starts, dude…lol And one of those games he gave up zero ER’s to boot, and another 4bb game of his he only gave up 1er, and in another 2er…etc The kids extremely talented, but walks guys sometimes, so what? Almost every pitcher has some downside, but the upside to Gio, is outter worldly.. Hes only getting better and better.. Not to mention, hes a lefty.. Gio would be a sensational get, and in my opinion, the best pitcher that would be got by anyone this offseason, cj wilson included..

  • Another Bronx Dynasty

    Unfortunatley with the exception of 2009, same old story for the Yankees. Look great during the season & than cant make it out of ALDS or if we get lucky we get to the ALCS. We dont have dynamic post season pitching. We desparatley need a lock down pitcher who can excel in the post season. Lets face it CC is a .500 pitcher in the post season with an almost 5.0 ERA. & CJ Wilson has very similar numbers to CC both during the season & post season.We really needed Cliff Lee last yr. Excellant post season pitcher.

    Yu is a wing and a prayer. Cash needs a blockbuster trade. I dont see it any other way. Just praying Joba returns around All Star break into rotation to his 2007 form as the “Nebraska Nightmare” against opposing hitters.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Cliff Lee has gotten absolutely lit up in two of his last three postseason starts.

      • JAG

        CC sure was terrible in ’09 also.

      • Another Bronx Dynasty

        In 2011 post season he did get lit up pretty bad by the Cards.

        • FIPster Doofus

          Additionally, the Giants destroyed him in Game 1 of the 2010 World Series and then Lincecum soundly outpitched him in Game 6 – which S.F. won to clinch the championship. As amazing as Lee is, he isn’t a postseason cure-all. If he was, he’d have a ring by now.

    • thenamestsam

      Yes, with the exception of the years the Yankees do win the world series, they never win the world series.

    • gc

      Not that you care or anything, but Cliff Lee is one of the main reasons the Phillies didn’t make it out of the division series this year. The guy had a 4 run lead at home in game 2 and lost the game. “Lock down” pitchers who excel in the post-season don’t let something like that happen.

    • nycsportzfan

      Definetly should go the trade route.. I don’t even know why its a question, and hopefully its not, and Cashman is planning on doing just that… Your not adding any better pitchers then guys like John Danks, Gio Gonzalez, Jair Jurrjiens, on this FA front.. Bottom line, a Trade helps us the most, and gives us a chance to have one of these stud pitchers for yrs and yrs, instead of signing a guy when hes all ready in his 30’s or pretty darn close..

  • Elmgrovegnome

    At this point Cashman has to be thinking that Colon and Garcia are just backup plans. Bring them back on the cheap in case he cannot make a deal in the offseason. Then if they have to start, hold out hope that they make it to the trade deadline before tailing off, then make a trade for a pitcher that will be a free agent next season.

    Cashman is just hedging his bets with these two.

    I would prefer to find out what Noesi can do when given a chance. If he pitches anywhere near what Nova did then that would mean he is better than AJ Burnett. I think the Yankees need to find this out early, whether or not Noesi is an option if AJ continues to stink the place up. That would mean, barring a transaction, holding a spot in the rotation for Hector, so switch his role with Bartolommeo Colon.

    Joeba? You are kidding right? He won’t be thought about until Spring Training 2013 IMO.

  • Another Bronx Dynasty

    A recipe to rebuilding the dynasty:

    Six Player Trade

    1.) We trade Montero, Betances, Noessi, Hughes & A-Rod & pay half of contract to Giants for Tim Lincecum & Matt Cain.

    2.) Sign Prince as our 1B / DH & watch him hit 50+ hrs per yr, in the Stadium.

    3.) Move Tex back to 3rd base

    Lincecum / CC

    Giants get plenty of offense & 2 dynamic young stars and a former All-Star from Ca. that will trhive in NL & his home state, also a huge name to replace Barry Bonds wwhile chasing his record.

    • FIPster Doofus

      When did real life turn into a videogame?

      • JAG

        I don’t even know what part of this is the most ridiculous.

      • Another Bronx Dynasty

        If you could make that trade tell me you wouldnt do it?

        • FIPster Doofus

          I would, but the entire scenario is completely unrealistic; hence the videogame comment.

        • Rick in Boston

          That trade would be great, but:

          -Tex hasn’t played 3B in years (there’s a reason he moved positions)
          -A-Rod has 10/5 rights, which means he’d have to approve any and all trades
          -I know we joke about the Yankees being able to print money, but wow, with the A-Rod payments to the Giants annualized, the Yankees would be looking at a $250+ million in payroll once they got Cain locked up.

    • YankeesSuck

      Balderdash. I wouldn’t piss on A-Rod if he were on fire. The Giants won’t trade Lincecum or Cain. End of story.

  • Another Bronx Dynasty

    Via trade how would you rebuild rotation that would be bullet proof in post season?

    • Rick in Boston

      There’s no such thing as a “bullet proof” rotation for a post-season series, especially 11 months out. Pitchers get hurt, they under-perform, or they end up not being that great to begin with. There are no guarantees in making a trade.

      • JAG

        Easy. Get 2 of the best pitchers of the generation to go along with the one we already have. All three are easy Cy young candidates in the prime of their careers, locked up for years and performing up to par. Minimum 3 Championships easily.

        I mean, it worked out great for the Braves in the 90s. Oh wait…

  • Grover

    Cashman and Steinbrenner are just posturing as the former scours the leagues for an upgrade. At this time of year every GM has glowing remarks for just about every player out there and especially their own free agents, whether feigning interest or not. Neither Bartolo or Freddie were perfect but Cashman scored an A for what he brought in to fill holes last year. I’m not even as concerned about who is on the roster at the beginning of the season as the answers may come at the trade deadline this year as next year’s free agent pool is much deeper at present. I personally like the idea of Danks or another expiring contract if one of the aces is unattainable. Though they may still be feeling the sting of the Swisher trade there is a long history of the ownership families doing business together. Heading in to the playoffs in 2012 they only need CC and two starters who can keep them in the game until the bullpen takes the reins. I say “Relax Francis” and let Cashman do his job. Do you all forget what it was like in the early days of the Steinbrenner regime? They traded away all of their farm for aging free agents who underperformed and resulted in several years of suck. It was not until King George began to listen to Stick Michael and a few others before they began to turn it around. Cashman was right not to want Arod at $30M+ or Soriano to pitch the seventh or eigth inning for $10M. Cashman gets it so just relax and hope management gives him the freedom to make it happen…again.

  • Another Bronx Dynasty

    If Danks can recapture 2010 form

  • Another Bronx Dynasty

    FIPster play GM and propose a trade to bolster the rotation. Again our rottion throughout the decade was adequete enough for us to be in the post season every yr but 1. What would you do to try to insure post season sucess or at least WS visits?

    • thenamestsam

      You’re totally missing the point. There is no such thing as ensuring post-season success. Look at the Phillies rotation. If that can’t guarantee success then nothing will. There are teams other than the Yankees. They are also trying to win. The Yankees will not win every year. These are just facts.

  • pat

    1)Sign Darvish and Wilson.
    2)Trade for Danks AND Floyd.
    3)Cut everyone else but CC.
    5) Profit!

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    We may need just one more pitcher to bolster the rotation. This time I hope Cashman does not wait until March to see what is left at the bottom of the barrel for a signing. As it is we can go with CC, Nova, Hughes, Noesi and Burnett or Phelps. I am hoping, however, they sign Yu or Buehrle the latter to short term tenure so that the other youngsters will not be held back. Cashman was lucky that bothColon and Garcia produced in 2011 but that is unlikely to occur again. It was the hitting or lack of it that made us lose in the first round not the pitching so much. Although a complete shutdown of the other team would have helped but how many pitchers out there are available that can do that?

  • Ted Nelson

    The whole point of “stealth-quiet periods” is that you don’t know when he’s in one… otherwise it wouldn’t be a “stealth-quiet period.”

    “For Garcia, the questions concern durability. He has thrown over 300 innings since the start of 2009 but he threw just 129 over the three prior years.”

    There’s still no real recognition from the RAB writers that he was hurt once, recovered, and has been healthy and at least decent since, huh?

    • Benjamin Kabak

      I’d recognize that. I’d also recognize that he’s had some serious shoulder injuries, lost of a lot of velocity and is a major candidate to get hurt. In the parlance of Will Carroll’s old team injury reports, Garcia’s in the red. He’s a fine back-end option, but he’s not a guy you want to ink in for another 25 starts of sub-4.00 ERA pitching.

      • Ted Nelson


  • TomG

    I know I’m in the minority, but if I had to choose one I’d prefer Colon to Garcia. Colon had truly dominant stuff at the beginning season and I think his second half fade had more to do with fatigue than any structural issues. The guy was dormant for years, then he put a decent amount of mileage on his body in the DR winter league before jumping right into spring training competition in February, then right into the regular season. Conditioning isn’t exactly his strong suit either. But he’s not going to be auditioning this winter and spring, which means he comes to camp and begins the season fresher this year.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      However, based on his history, there’s no guarantee that even with the additional rest this offseason, that he comes into camp and has anything left. Perhaps what we saw in the 2nd half of the season is what he as become at 39.

      If they Yankees can’t sign a solid FA or make a good trade, then I’d prefer Garcia on a 1 year deal (forget about him if he wants more) and be prepared to quickly move Noesi into the rotation and move on to your next best performing AAA pitcher as necessary due to underwhelming performances/injuries as they occur. There’s a solid core of youngsters that should be looked at as opportunities arise.

  • Holy Ghost

    Garcia should be re-signed. I don’t think anyone believes Colon will be able to repeat what he did last season. I think the Yankees know they need to add atleast one more starter but they don’t want to appear ‘desperate’. And they shouldn’t be desperate given the depth of their AAA pitching prospects.

    I’d rather they go the free agent rout than aquire a pitcher via trade unless we have the opportunity to trade for a relatively young ace.

    As far as free agents go, my preferences are the following:

    I hope the the Yanks sign 1 or 2 of the following:

    CJ Wilson(if he can be signed for less than a 5 year deal)

    Mark Buerhle

    Edwin Jackson

    Erik Bedard or Roy Oswalt(if they are willing to sign incentive-heavy contracts such as $10 million if they reach 180 innings pitched or make the playoff roster)

    I don’t think they should blow $100 million on Yu Darvish. Too risky and NY’ers will not be kind to him if he doesn’t live up to expectations