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MLB Rumors: New York Yankees Have Slight Interest in Millwood and Garcia

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 29:  Pitcher Kevin Millwood #34 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on September 29, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images
Bronx Baseball DailySenior Analyst IJanuary 6, 2011

The Yankees, who are looking to add to their pitching staff, don’t have much to choose from and seem to be checking into every last free agent starter these days. This includes righties Kevin Millwood and Freddy Garcia, according to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated.

Both pitchers are former All-Stars, but are long past their prime. We’ve already heard Garcia’s name mentioned this offseason in connection with the Yankees. Millwood’s name has only had a loose connection at best to this point. This rumor that Heyman is passing along doesn’t mean that the Yankees are seriously considering either pitcher just that they have thought about it.

Garcia, 35, has been slowed by shoulder injuries over the past few years that have limited his innings, but had the better numbers of the two pitchers in overall in 2010. In 28 starts and 157 innings last year, Garcia had a 4.64 ERA with 5.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 rates. Not overly impressive, but it would be serviceable as the No. 5 pitcher in the rotation and rough as the No. 4 starter.

Millwood, 36, hasn’t had any serious injury problems over the past few years, but he has been slowed by age. Last year he threw 190.2 innings over 31 starts. His ERA was an A.J. Burnett-like 5.10, but his K/9 and BB/9 rates of 6.2 and 3.1 respectively weren’t bad (although they were both below his career averages). Also, he did pitch pretty well down the stretch last year. In his final 10 games he had a 3.29 ERA over 65.2 innings. That wouldn’t be terrible as a no. 4 starter and would be pretty good as a no. 5.

A big concern about Millwood though, is that his velocity was down overall last season, especially in the second half. He’s already in decline and last year was the worst of it. Over the past four years his fastball has dropped from the 90-95 mph range to the 85-90 mph range it was at by the end of 2010. Maybe he just looks like a decent No. 4 starter, but might only end up being barely a No. 5. At least Garcia has already had a decent amount of time to adapt to his diminished skills.

What do you think? Considering the other options available, would it be so bad if the Yankees signed either of these pitchers?

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