25 Nov 2011
The Yankees did some last minute Thanksgiving shopping, bringing Freddy Garcia back on a one-year/$4-$5 million deal. Personally, I would have preferred the draft pick, but it is not a terrible deal. Garcia wasn’t as good as he looked in 2011, but he is a decent back-end of the rotation guy at a reasonable price. The question is, does this mean the Yankees are done shopping for pitching?
On the surface, a rotation of Sabathia, Burnett, Nova, Hughes and Garcia appears to be set, but there are some questions that linger for everyone not named “Sabathia”.
I still think AJ could be trade bait this offseason. Again, the Yankees won’t get much back, if anything, but I could see them offloading his contract. If they sign another free agent or trade for one, I would almost bank on it.
Nova had a great season ERA-wise, but his peripherals were not as good. My biggest worry is his low strikeout rate, but unless he falls off a cliff this spring, he is definitely in the rotation.
Speaking of falling off of cliffs, that’s what Phil Hughes did in 2011. His ERA was worse than his peripherals, but anyway you slice it, 2011 was a huge disappointment. Part of it might have been a natural regression after throwing so many innings in 2010, but Hughes has to pitch well in 2012 to prove that case. Considering his success in the bullpen during the 2009 season, I think he is the most likely guy to get bumped if the Yankees acquire another pitcher.
And of course there is Garcia and the question if he can keep “junkballing” his way through lineups. He is 35 and his fastball averaged 87 mph last year. When the end comes, it will come quickly.
I still think the Yankees upgrade their rotation in some fashion this offseason. I suspect it will be via a trade because the reported free agent prices are insane. (CJ Wilson six years and $120 million??) Expect to learn more when the Winter Meetings kick off December 5th.