Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Yanks, Garcia Agree to Minor League Deal
Typically, the Yankees corner the market on high-end free agents. This year, they've taken a bit of a different route: signing low cost, potential high reward pitchers to minor league contracts. Last week, it was 2005 AL Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon. Today, it's former All-Star Freddy Garcia. While there's no word as to how much he's guaranteed if he makes the club out of Spring Training, the Associated Press reports that the deal maxes out at $5.1M if he meets all of his performance based incentives.
On the surface, it's really easy to pan this move. After all, Garcia is 34 years old, has missed significant chunks of three of the last four seasons, and tends to be homer prone. Really, there's not a lot to like. That said, you can't just look at the player in these situations. The contract the player is signed to is equally important. In the case of Garcia, the deal is of the minor league variety. While we don't know Garcia's guaranteed salary if he makes the club out of ST, we can assume it's pretty low (between $500K and $1.5M). At that rate, especially for a high-revenue, high-payroll team like the Yankees, that kind of money is a drop in the bucket. It's a rounding error. If he fails to produce, they can release him outright, and eat his salary. If he does produce, both sides win. Garcia gets his incentives (up to $5.1M), and the Yankees get a ton of value out of a pitcher of which they expected little. Garcia has been a very effective pitcher at points during his career, so it's not ridiculous for the Yankees to hope they can catch lightning in a bottle. Plus, anyone is better than Sergio Mitre who has proven to be the very definition of a replacement level pitcher. What else do they have to lose?