Boy, Freddy Garcia‘s two years with the New York Yankees was certainly on par with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde stories we all know. In 2011, Garcia was a rock for a rotation that had many question marks. He pitched so well, he was slotted as the #2 pitcher behind CC Sabathia in the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees, as the cliché goes, caught lightning in a bottle. Meanwhile, Garcia parlayed that good season into a one-year, $4 million pact with the Yankees for the 2012 season, but he didn’t enjoy the same success.
Even before Spring Training was underway, Garcia was behind the 8-ball. The front office along with manager Joe Girardi rigged the starting rotation with Phil Hughes taking over the fifth and final spot, the only spot for which Garcia could possibly land if he impressed throughout March. Furthering that point, fan-favorite Andy Pettitte came back onto the scene and all of the sudden, Garcia’s spot with the team came into question. “Where would the Yankees use him?” “Is he a long-man/spot starter?” “Is he even worth a 25-man roster spot at this point?” These were among the many questions fans and critics had during the spring and after the first month of the season.
However, as seasons usually go, there were injuries to prominent players and Garcia’s value to the team suddenly became apparent. Newly acquired, Michael Pineda went down with a shoulder injury mid-March, while Pettitte needed April to get his arm ready for the season since coming off a full year of “retirement.” Be so as it may, the 2012 starting rotation began the season with Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Hughes and Garcia. It didn’t take long before the Yankees altered that.
Garcia started twice during April and was completely awful. He held a 12.51 ERA (4.20 xFIP) in four starts. In 13.2 innings pitched he gave up 25 hits, 20 runs (19 earned), with a slash line of, wait for it … .403/.449/.710. Piling on, hitters were reaching base more than 44 percent of the time and he only stranded baserunners at a 41 percent clip. Simply put, he was atrocious. But he did start in the Yankees great comeback against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway, so there’s that.
After a terrible month, Garcia was removed from the rotation and rotted away in the bullpen until early-to-mid May. He only pitched in five games (mostly in garbage time), but was considerably better. During May and June (also appeared in only five games) he pitched to a 1.93 ERA and 1.13 ERA, respectively. Also, with the emergence of David Phelps as a swingman in the bullpen, Garcia was finding it more and more difficult to get into a game. That was until CC Sabathia injured his elbow and Andy Pettitte went down with an ankle injury.
In July, Garcia was given another chance in the rotation and pitched more akin to what the Yankees expected when they re-signed him. In six starts, he pitched 36 innings to a 4.00 ERA (3.99 xFIP). It was during August he brought his best stuff though. He held hitters to a .235/.316/.402 slash line while going 3-0 in five starts. For as good as he was in August, he was equally bad come September. His ERA skyrocketed back up to 7.24 (4.64 xFIP) and he looked like the pitcher the Yankees broke camp with.
All told, as a reliever he pitched to a 2.42 ERA (3.95 xFIP) with a nice .206 BABIP during 2012. However, as a starter he was completely different, he pitched to a 5.93 ERA (4.09 xFIP).
- Classroom assignments incomplete
- Written work is not neat
- Poor test grades
- Makes excellent effort
As a person you have to feel bad for a guy who went into the season as a lame duck starter (I’m sure $4 million helps quell those hurt feelings), after three pitchers were signed and two homegrown pitchers are ahead of you. But, to be told that you’re unwanted and not needed throughout the season must be tough to deal with.
Saying that, as a fan, good riddance! He’s a 36-year-old pitcher with diminishing stuff, pitching on a team with the most (vicious) media coverage, so his flaws are dissected and magnified to the nth degree, fairly or not. I don’t think many fans were expecting him to be the pitcher he was in 2011, but they also didn’t think he’d fall off this much in 2012.
**If you’re curious about our grades for other Yankee players, you can find them all here.**