Freddy Garcia: New York Yankees Hurler Underappreciated

James MorisetteCorrespondent IIIMay 5, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 4:  Freddy Garcia #36 of the New York Yankees catches balls in the outfield during batting practice before a game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium May 4, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Sometimes I wonder if I am but one of a few baseball fans who does not support the repulsive-at-times treatment some have shown New York Yankees veteran hurler Freddy Garcia.

Call me apologetic, but here is a player who in 14 years of Major League Baseball service has compiled an overall record of 145 wins and 97 losses. His 4.14 career ERA, though not stellar, is respectable. In 10 postseason starts, Garcia is 6-3 with a 3.28 ERA. Garcia has also been to two All-Star games, both with the Seattle Mariners (2001-2002). He also helped the White Sox to a World Series victory in 2005.

But then Garcia hit a snag from 2007-2009. A man marked by injury, Garcia looked like a pitcher clinging to a job in the show.  

But Garcia fought back from life support during the 2010 and 2011 campaigns. Although Garcia was not nearly as effective as he once was during his days with Seattle, he nonetheless earned a 24-14 record with a low four ERA during these years. Not dominant, but effective enough to help the Chicago White Sox and Yankees to the postseason in back-to-back years.

The Yankees had a proven winner in Garcia.

But with that disease called what have you done for me lately syndrome, Garcia is treated like chopped liver lately, like he never picked up a broom to help sweep the porch.

Sad as it is, Garcia lives on the butt end of some fans and writers who obsess about his fall from grace.

Yes, Garcia has struggled, but so have other pitchers this early in this season. Yes, Garcia has lost velocity in his pitches that has resulted in his demotion to the bullpen. Yes, Garcia needs to retool his mechanics so as to get back to efficiency.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 02:  Freddy Garcia #36 of the New York Yankees walks off the field after the first inning of Game Two of the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium on October 2, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo b
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

But some have jumped on the bandwagon and stomped their feet. “Trade him!” “Cut him!” “Chop off his hands and bury them in lyme!”

It is ridiculous. Like the guy is supposed to be a machine like RoboCop.

So what if Garcia is just five wins away from tying famous Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean on his way up the all-time MLB wins leaderboard?

Brandon Inge, here come reinforcements, for my stomach still turns over at how some fans treated you on your way out of Motown too.

For once, it would be nice if people actually got behind a guy like Garcia who struggles, as opposed to washing their hands of this veteran.

It is amazing how an athlete can find inspiration in people who actually root for them, vice booing them and heralding them as bums.

Thankfully, there are baseball fans who despise the type of defamation that goes on toward players whose only crime is being in a slump.   

They are the logical souls who cheer to drown out a chorus of unnecessary jeers.

Interestingly, I have watched enough baseball to know this. This game has a funny way of making heroes of men come fall who were deemed goats in the spring.