Feb 1, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT
I know it's almost not funny to keep piling on the Yanks at this point of the off-season–almost–but man, they're making it easy. After a disappointing free agent haul that saw the team miss out on all their Type A targets (except for relief pitcher Rafael Soriano, who GM Brian Cashman might not even have wanted in the first place), the Bronx Bombers have had to settle for a number of underwhelming, lower-profile signings in their stead. Notable mostly by its contrast to New York winters past, it's always a treat to see the Yanks have to fight for such scraps as Spring Training nears.
And whether by coincidence or design, these lesser signings have all had the distinct air of being about a half-decade too late. Mark Prior, Russell Martin, Andruw Jones, Bartolo Colon (!!)–and now, our old friend Freddy Garcia, signed to a $1.5 million deal conditional on Freddy making the major-league roster, with a couple mil available in incentive bonuses.
Garcia, you likely recall, was once the prized off-season landing of the Phillies organization. After spending a couple all-star seasons with the Mariners and winning a World Series ring with the White Sox, the Phils dealt a duo of pitching prospects (Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez, both of whom are solid starters in the majors today) for Garcia with the intention of him becoming the rock of the team's 2007 rotation. Didn't exactly work out that way, as Freddy suffered a pre-season shoulder injury that plagued him for his first eleven starts, before he was shut down for the season with only a single W under his belt, and shown the door the next autumn.
Since then, Garcia has done a decent job of rehabilitating his career, eventually landing back in Chicago as a consistent if unspectacular innings-eater for the Sox. Last year, he went 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA in 28 starts–more outings than he'd managed in the last three seasons combined. In New York, he (potentially) joins a rotation with CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, and a whole lot of question marks, as the Yanks try to figure out if Ivan Nova is worth a damn, if AJ Burnett should still have a career and if Andy Pettitte can be coaxed out of retirement one last time.
Reports say that the Yanks are closing in on Adam Eaton and Kris Benson as well, but are playing it cool in the negotiations to "avoid looking desperate."
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