The 2012 New York Yankees (52-33) thrived during the season's first half. However, that doesn't mean they should shy away from personnel changes.
In fact, I recommend that they deal pitcher Freddy Garcia before July 31, the non-waiver trade deadline.
The Venezuelan right-hander was devoured by opposing lineups in April (0-2, 12.51 ERA, 1.159 OPS against). He pitched "poorly enough to warrant an outright release," according to Bleacher Report's own Kenny DeJohn.
Garcia was retained, but demoted to the bullpen. He excelled in a mop-up role, and fully restored his trade value in early July with a couple of solid starts.
Moving the 35-year-old doesn't hurt New York's chances of contending for a championship this fall.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, Garcia has been worth precisely 0.0 WAR. In other words, even if the team gave his roster spot to an average replacement player, the effect would be negligible.
Of course, David Phelps—who recently looked dominant for the Double-A Trenton Thunder—is not your run-of-the-mill fill-in. He boasts a 3.05 ERA in 15 big-league games and has struck out better than a batter per inning. Phelps is capable of taking Andy Pettitte's upcoming turns in the rotation while the southpaw recovers from an ankle injury.
Unloading the 14-year veteran would be a financial relief. He is owed nearly $2 million over the next several months.
Moreover, such a transaction could improve the club in 2013 and beyond.
Garcia is an expendable yet legitimate trade chip. I imagine that—considering his latest performances—the Yankees could request a decent prospect in return for his services. After all, numerous teams are desperate for immediate pitching help.
The future of New York's staff is uncertain. Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda are amid contract years, so this may be their final summer in the Bronx. Though talented, Michael Pineda is rehabbing from serious shoulder surgery.
Acquiring a young arm at the deadline will have the Yankees better prepared and keep them competitive for the 2012 title.