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?


  1. Why didn't the Yanks go after Duchscherer? Believe me, I am fine that they want to take a risk on pitching. I can't wait to see the Sox lineup feast on their minor league 4 and 5 starters, but he seems like a much safer bet than Garcia or Colon. He did have an injury shortened '10 but seemed pretty competent as a starter after years as a reliever. He signed yesterday with Baltimore for 700k (1.1 w/ incentives)


    In addition to a great gb% he held lefties to a .192 avg.
    I am sure that there is something about him that I don't know... GM's are GM's for a reason, but this seems like another miss by Cashman.

  2. The Duke is a good pitcher, but I'm not sure he's a viable rotation candidate long-term. In 2008, his only full season in the rotation, he suffered through a multitude of injuries, and pitched only 142 innings. While his ERA was nice, his peripherals didn't really support it. This leads me to believe that his performance was something of a mirage. Then, he missed all of the 2009 season and most of the 2010 season. He's never shown that he'll be able to handle the rigors of a full season in the rotation. Garcia, after three injury riddled seasons, showed that he could at least handle the rigors of a season in the rotation. He made 28 starts.

    Furthermore, there's a huge difference in contracts. While Garcia's maxes out a much higher rate than Duchscherer, Garcia's is a minor league deal. Duchscherer's is a major league deal, which adds some additional risk because it's guaranteed. In terms of whether Cashman hit or missed, that's still up in the air. As I see it right now, the Yankees are the early winners because they minimized their level of risk.