Andy’s impact on Freddy

Minor Notes: Bichette, Austin, Ravel, Heathcott
Patience & Roster Margins
"This blows." (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The most exciting minor league signing in Yankees history (or at least recent history) has some far-reaching implications, as Andy Pettitte‘s return further crowds and already crowded rotation and trickles down into the Triple-A pitching staff. The Yankees brought Pettitte back simply because they couldn’t say no, as a non-guaranteed $2.5M contract for a pitcher of Andy’s caliber is too good to pass up even if he is closing in on his 40th birthday. There’s no such thing as too much pitching depth, as they say.

Freddy Garcia was already at a disadvantage in camp, having to compete with younger pitchers for too few rotation spots despite doing nothing to lose his job over the offseason. The fifth starter competition is reportedly rigged in Phil Hughes‘ favor, and now Freddy has to look over his shoulder as Pettitte’s eventual return to the rotation draws closer as well. It’s not at all fair, but it does come with the territory. That doesn’t mean he has to be happy about it.

“I don’t really care,” said Garcia when asked about Pettitte’s return over the weekend, throwing his hands up. “That’s their decision. I’m here to pitch and that’s what I want to do … I don’t know [if the signing is good for the team] man. Ask the people. I don’t know. I guess.”

The Yankees can’t trade Garcia without his consent until June 15th because he signed as a Major League free agent this winter, but the veteran right-hander has not requested a trade according to Marc Carig. He still intends to compete for a rotation spot, which is great to hear. Freddy might be disappointed by Pettitte’s return — and he has every right to be — but it doesn’t seems like he’s going to go about his business any differently. He’s already let it be known that he’s willing to work out of the bullpen, what more can the guy do?

For now, the Pettitte signing doesn’t change anything. He won’t be ready in time to start the season, so the Yankees still have six starters for five spots at the moment. I can’t remember the last time the team made it through the month of April without one starter either getting hurt or being a total disappointment, so my money is still on Garcia being in the rotation at some point. How long he remains there is another matter entirely. Freddy’s made a fortune in this game and already has his World Series ring, and when you’ve been around the game as long as he has, you know how quickly situations can change. “You play with the Yankees, nothing surprises you.”

Minor Notes: Bichette, Austin, Ravel, Heathcott
Patience & Roster Margins
  • Jay

    Before the Pettitte signing, I thought Freddy was going to be a big part of the team this year as I had more confidence in him having a good year than Hughes or Pineda. Now it’s hard to see him getting a chance but at least he’s still going about his business.

  • Monterowasdinero

    Keep Freddy. Age is not as big of a factor with his stuff and approach to pitching. 68-88 mph stuff can last longer than most.

    I am not sold on Phil or Andy for 25 quality starts in 2012.

    • CS Yankee

      Agreed, Nova & Hughes stunk up the show coming out of the gate in 2011 so you won’t know until its hindsight.

      I would likely lean to;
      1) CC
      2) Kuroda
      3) OPEN
      4) Pineda
      5) OPEN

      Hughes, Garcia, & Nova compete for the two open spots.
      If Garcia isn’t one of them either trade or MRP.
      If not Hughes as a SP, throw to the pen.
      If not Nova, sent him to AAA.
      Pettitte will likely take the weakest spot come mid-May out of the two SP survivors.

      If they all pitch well, it’ll be a tougher thing to deal with come May.

  • CountryClub

    We’ll never really know if the competition for the 5th spot was rigged. But if we’re going under the assumption that the Yanks were using ST as a competition, Hughes has done nothing to make you think he shouldn’t be in the roation.

    • Havok9120

      This. I mean, sure, we think it was rigged. But given Phil’s results, wouldn’t he be in the rotation anyway if the season started today?

  • will

    wow was freddy the only one who was even indifferent on this? LOL DRAMA!

  • UYF1950

    I would think it’s in Freddy’s best interest at least money wise to request and get traded. I believe his incentive clause this season starts at 25 STARTS. If he’s relegated to the bullpen that incentive doesn’t kick in. Even if he has to spend a month or 2 in the bullpen he’ll never hit the first incentive.
    So like I said I think it’s in his best interest to want to be traded.

    • Ted Nelson

      It’s a good point, but with $50 million in career earnings it’s possible Freddy’s at a point where winning and/or where he’s pitching trump $.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        with $50 million in career earnings

        Excellent point, Ted. I can’t even fathom making that much money in my career. And he’s still in his mid-30’s. If he’s been reasonably intelligent with the use of his earnings, he can pick and choose where he pitches and not worry about an extra million or 3.

      • UYF1950

        May be it’s just me. But I tend to think for most athletes it’s all about the money. Regardless of how much they have made in the past. I don’t know if Garcia fits into that category or not but may be we will get a chance to find out.

  • Steve (different one)

    Semi related question, because it is a minor league deal, is Andy’s $2.5M prorated? If he is added to the roster June 1, are they only paying him $1.5M?

    • UYF1950

      Unless I’m mistaken Andy signed a $2.5MM Minor League deal. So it’s $2.5MM whether or not he pitches in the minors or majors.

  • Juke Early

    I agree w/Mike. No compelling reason to subtract a SP yet. While MLB has changed since the 1950’s & 60’s, Warren Spahn won 103 games from his age 39 season, pitching about 7 more. Sure, W’s don’t mean much to most of you stat-o-mattys. But I’ll take a few wins whichever guy gets the cred. Here’s hoping Andy’s back and good at it.

    • Ted Nelson

      The team gets the cred.

    • nsalem

      Spahn won 83 games in the 4 years from age 39 to 42. Years 43 to 46 were fairly ugly. He finished on a not so bad note the Giants and did pitch a couple of good games in a very close pennant race. I think both Pettitte and Garcia are both incredibly intelligent pitches who both may have a few good years ahead of them. The 6.5 million dollars they spent on these two may turn out to be a very wise investment.

    • CJ

      They will be compelled when they have the right offer. In Freddy’s case I think they may have to eat salary to move him. If Hughes or nova is traded they would make that move if and when they liked the offer.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        I believe (hope?) the Yankees are keeping a long term focus. Trading Hughes or Nova could threaten their ability to significantly reduce payroll on ’14 & ’15. Unless they were blown away by an offer for Hughes or Nova, I have to believe Freddy is the one gone should they determine they have enough pitching for this year. Freddy and Andy can’t be seen as anything more than one year stop-gap measures.

        • jsbrendog

          hughes will be a free agent and if it is as a starter he will make more than freddy garcia next yr

          • Cris Pengiucci

            And he could be worth it. I doubt Freddy replicates his 2011 production this season. And I doubt he’ll replicate his ’12 production in ’13. Hughes may still be getting better.

            • Ted Nelson

              I agree on Nova, but we’ll have to see on Hughes. They can re-sign him and stay under 189, sure, but it might not be the best utilization of resources. They have 9 candidates for 5 rotation spots already and a bunch of them at league minimum or early-arb (CC, Pineda, Nova, Manny, Dellin, Phelps, Warren, Mitchell, Marshall).

              • Ted Nelson

                I mean early arb for 2014 and 15…

              • Havok9120

                This. Lets get what we can out of Hughes and go from there. I see him as a 2 year rental at this point, and would happilly integrate one of Phelps/Warren/Mitchel into his spot while also potentially integrating one of the B’s.

                We don’t NEED FA pitchers. We have a ton of our own. Lets use them.

      • jsbrendog

        no way they have to eat $ to trade garcia unless he sharts the bed. guy is coming off a 3 yr run where his bwar increased by 1.0 at least each time. he had 3.4 last yr and 2.1 the yr before and is ONLY making 4.5 mil. the pirates are paying burnett MORE to do WAY less.

      • Ted Nelson

        Given the contracts of guys like Bruce Chen, Capuano, Harang, etc. and the trades for Lowe and Burnett I don’t think the Yankees will have to eat money on Garcia unless he starts 2012 horribly. Maybe they can get a little more back in return for eating money, but I sort of doubt it would be much since it’s not that much money.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Trade Garcia. Give him the opportunity to start somewhere else (b-b-but b-b-baseball is a b-b-usiness….). The depth is there to absorb the blow and actually give guys like Phelps and Mitchell a chance to sniff Yankee Stadium this year.

    • Ted Nelson

      What indication do you have that Garcia wants to start somewhere else vs. being a Yankee? Or that there’s a team particularly interested?

      I think giving MLB-ready AAA guys shots is a legitimate reason to trade Garcia. I don’t think him wanting to start somewhere else really is.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I haven’t spoken to Freddy personally lately, Ted, but I don’t think wanting a starting spot is that far-fetched an assumption to make. Yes, absolutely, he may value wearing the pinstripes more, regardless of role. I’m with you on that. I also don’t think it’s far-fecthed to assume that a pitcher like Freddy Garcia, at that price, wouldn’t be attractive to a whole lot of teams with a lot worse options in their rotation.

        • Ted Nelson

          I’m just saying that I think it’s about more than just baseball being a business.

          Garcia signed with the Yankees before they made their big moves, but he had to know they might make a move or two and already had lots of AAA depth. He still signed with the Yankees and at least publicly has said he’s fine with a bullpen role. I totally agree that he’d be an upgrade for a lot of teams, but if other teams with rotation holes were interested at that price in free agency he didn’t capitalize on it either as leverage with the Yankees or to sign somewhere else.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Very good points.

            The “business” crack was more about the inevitability of someone commenting to point out that the team doesn’t owe Freddy anything, blah blah blah, which is a point I think we all come into this understanding. It doesn’t represent my belief.

  • Billion$Bullpen

    “so my money is still on Garcia being in the rotation at some point” ME TOO! We have three starters who can be sent to the minors (i am not saying they will be, but hell it is FINALLY nice to have some options!

    I do however dislike the Montero deal even more now. I still get why it was done, I just am not a fan of the move. Hopefully I am proven wrong many times over.

    • fin

      Well at this point Montero would probably help the Yankees more than Pineda will this year. However, in 2014 I expect it to be quite a different story. CC may not be one of the 10 best pitchers in baseball by 2010, Garcia will be gone, Andy will be gone, Hughes will probably gone. This glut of pitching is a 1 year luxury. Next year I am betting at least 1 of the AAA guys is starting for the Yankees, and possibly 2. Pineda could be the ace of the staff by 2014.