Free Agent Stock Watch: Freddy Garcia

Among free agent starters with at least 100 innings pitched in 2011, C.J. Wilson, C.C. Sabathia, and Mark Buehrle unsurprisingly comprise the top three in ERA.  Erik Bedard snags the fourth spot with a 3.62 ERA, the bigger surprise being the lefty's health rather than his performance.  But just a hair behind Bedard in the free agent ERA rankings is a man who had to sign a minor league deal in late January: Freddy Garcia.


After the 2006 season Garcia had tallied 200+ innings in six consecutive years.  Seeking a front-rotation arm, Phillies GM Pat Gillick acquired Garcia from the White Sox for Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez at the Winter Meetings that year.  Biceps soreness set in that spring for Garcia, who began the year on the DL.  The big righty threw 56 innings for the '07 Phillies, at which point a serious shoulder injury was diagnosed.  He had surgery in late August, and became a hot commodity as a free agent a year later.  Garcia gave the '08 Tigers three September starts and planned to participate in the Venezuelan Winter League to further prove his health.

Garcia's shoulder flared up at that point, but he was healthy enough to land a $1.5MM base salary with $6.5MM in incentives from the Mets in January of '09.  Mets GM Omar Minaya convinced Garcia to accept a minor league assignment to begin that season, but he was released by the end of April.  It was a low point for Garcia, who signed back with the White Sox in June of that year on a minor league deal.  Garcia closed out his season with nine starts for the Sox, pitching well enough to prompt the team to exercise a $1MM option in October.

In 2010 we saw a full season of the new Garcia.  The results: a 4.64 ERA, 5.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 1.32 HR/9, and 40.7% groundball rate in 157 innings.  It wasn't enough to merit a big league deal, so the Yankees signed him to a minor league contract in January and he soon became the favorite to be the team's fourth starter.  An August finger injury cost Garcia a few starts, but he ended up with similar numbers: a 5.9 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 0.98 HR/9, and 36.4% groundball rate in 146 2/3 innings.  If you count a minor league start and a postseason start, Garcia pitched 156 innings.

SIERA says Garcia's skills suggest an ERA around 4.28, rather than his actual 3.62 mark.  That's still an improvement over 2010.  Garcia slightly improved his strikeout rate, perhaps due to some changes in his mix of pitches.  Garcia still profiles as a back-end starter, but his new level of performance should result in a guarantee at least matching the $3MM given to the likes of Brad Penny and Brandon Webb last winter.

Garcia appears to have earned over $4MM this year including incentives, and the Yankees must decide whether to offer arbitration if his fringe Type B status holds up.  Perhaps the Yankees can convince him to decline arbitration, as otherwise the process could lead to a $5-6MM guarantee should the pitcher accept.  Garcia has shown he can provide that amount of value, but despite the lower ERA this year the market perception would probably put him below a $5MM base salary as a free agent.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.

23 Responses to Free Agent Stock Watch: Freddy Garcia Leave a Reply

  1. Guest 4 years ago

    Thanks for the solid pitching this season, Freddy! 

    • Guest 4 years ago

      …and sorry your name has to appear in the same sentence as Erik Bedard’s. More proof that metrics don’t tell the whole story. 

  2. dirtydez 4 years ago

    Garcia for Felix.

  3. FacelessGeneralManager 4 years ago

    Dang, Gio Gonzalez has been moved around a lot, apparently no one realized what they had.

    • Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

      I still can’t believe Pat Gillick traded him and Floyd for Garcia… Hindsight 20/20 and all, but that deal doesn’t go through if they thoroughly check the medicals. (More for Gio than Gavin… who knows if Gavin would have developed in Philly).

      … show’s every GM makes a move they wish they could take back.

      • Guest 4 years ago

        There is a reason why the Phillies were losers before Amaro. But then again, not much has changed. Just a higher payroll. 

        • nm344 4 years ago

          Yeah 2 WS appearances, 5 straight division titles, 2 years of best record in baseball.  LOSERS!

          • Century 4 years ago

            Yeah well, that’s all pretty recent and after Gillick. Welcome to my world as a Yankee fan and fans taking cheap shots. I guess you can look at that positively considering the fact the Phillies are now on the same level of the Yankees.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            “the Phillies were losers before Amaro. But then again, not much has changed. Just a higher payroll”

            “the Phillies are now on the same level of the Yankees”

          • Guest 4 years ago

            You get my point, Red Sox fan..

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            those are all your words. i wouldn’t say any of the things you did about the phillies or the yankees

        • Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

          Gillick was the GM for the 07 division title and WS Championship. He signed Werth, traded for Stairs, Lidge, etc.

          If you’re going to insult the team, at least know what you’re talking about.

        • slider32 4 years ago

          I can’t believe that Halladay and Lee have not won a series yet!

      • shysox 4 years ago

        We’ll give you Carlos Quentin and Gavin Floyd for Dom Brown

  4. rockfordone 4 years ago

    “Big Game Freddie” should get a two year gig

  5. If the Tigers aren’t going to get Buehrle or Wilson, Freddy would be a better fit than Brad Penny, IMO. 

    These handshake deals where players decline arbitration so that their former clubs get a draft pick should be sanctioned by MLB.   What’s worse is the fact that if the Yankees were to sign three Type A free agents, their sandwich comp pick is exempt from being given as compensation.  

    • I think there are at least four or five free agent pitchers I would rather have than Freddy Garcia.  I would also rather have Jacob Turner/Below/Wilk/Oliver starting than Freddy Garcia.  Roy Oswalt may not have his option picked up, Hiroki Kuroda is a free agent, and Javier Vazquez.  The Tigers don’t need their fifth starter to be a washed up veteran.

  6. stewie75 4 years ago

    Seems like an important factor in someone’s “Free Agent Stock Watch” would be his age. No? Just turned 35. Maybe 2 years $10M, second year vests with IP or team option if he doesn’t reach the innings.

  7. NomarGarciaparra 4 years ago

    In regards to Erik Bedard, if he can be had for a cheap 1 year deal, the Red Sox should snag him. Chances are he’ll be down half the season, but we’ll definitely need extra arms throughout the season, and Bedard is excellent when healthy.

    • slider32 4 years ago

      Freddie’s slit finger has kept him in the majors, plus his ability to pitch which seems to be a lost art.That being said, Freddie is still a ? for 2012, I’m not sure he is worth a 2 year contract but I would sign him to a one year 4 million contract.

  8. NYPOTENCE 4 years ago

    El Jefe deserves a loud applause for his terrific gardenwork of opposing teams

  9. never mind i just made an ass of myself. Philly traded him back to the White Sox in said trade one year later.

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