Slowly but surely much of the Yankee fan base and blogosphere is realizing that the Yankees will probably not make a splashy move this offseason, something I’d believed was likely for some time now. The reasons for this are both clear and sound. The Yankees really only need starting pitching. C.J. Wilson and Yu Darvish were the best pitchers available and they are not guaranteed to succeed over the course of a five year contract. Given the Yankees’ considerable financial commitments already on the field any additional contracts need to be well reasoned. Failing that, it makes a lot of sense for the Bombers to bide their time.
But that doesn’t mean the Yankees can’t continue to add high upside, low cost veterans as they have over the past few seasons with considerable success. Freddy Garcia has benefited from this already. As we all know the Yankees signed Garcia to a one year deal last year and he gave the Bombers 145.2 innings of 3.58/4.12/4.34 ERA/FIP/xFIP baseball. That justifiably earned him another shot with the Yankees. Even if he can’t repeat his 2011 performance Garcia comes at such a low cost that he’s worth the risk.
If the Yankees are willing to dish out another contract to the slow-tossing Garcia, what does Bartolo Colon have to do to get some love? Colon was the other veteran addition the Yankees made last season. Originally he was meant to come out of the bullpen, but when Phil Hughes went down in flames Colon got his chance to start. And he excelled. Colon never gave the Yankees a FIP above 3.84 in any month until August, after he came back from injury.
There were some warts on Bart’s season, to be sure. He went down for a period with a hamstring injury, and wasn’t as dominant in his return as he was before the injury. But none of this changes the fact that if Garcia’s surprisingly strong season earned him another year in pinstripes then certainly Colon should get another audition as well. Fact of the matter is that Colon was better than Garcia. He gave the Yankees 153.0 innings of 4.00/3.91/3.64 baseball. In addition, his plus fastball and ability to warm up quickly make him an ideal option out of the bullpen if younger, more upside options such as Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes pitch to their potential.
Yankee fans (myself included) have come to expect the team to make splashy moves every offseason, for better or worse. That time may be over. The new collective bargaining agreement punishes teams for spending the way the Yankees did. An era in which the team begins working off many of the bad contracts it has handed out the last few seasons may be fast approaching. In that environment it only makes sense to dole out mega-bucks for players who will earn it, CC Sabathia type successes as opposed to A.J. Burnett style flops. All of that explains why the Yankees have been on the side lines this winter. But in that environment it shines a bigger spotlight on low cost, quick upside players such as Colon. If Garcia was good enough to get another year on the team then certainly Bartolo was good enough as well.
Happy holidays everyone.
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