The New York Yankees agreed to terms with Freddy Garcia on Tuesday, the latest in a succession of bargain basement signings of once-great pitchers rendered ordinary (or worse) by age, injuries—or in the case of Bartolo Colon—the soft late-night glow of the refrigerator.
This strategy was last employed with success by the 1989 Cleveland Indians, which would be cause for encouragement if it didn't occur in the fictional world of the movie Major League.
(Seriously, this is the only example I can think of where this strategy was effective.)
Signing ostensibly "over-the-hill" players with the hope of a return to form is a very un-Yankee like move. These are the types of transactions usually reserved for luxury tax-pocketing bottom feeders of baseball. Witnessing the Evil Empire pulling the same routine is jarring to say the least.
It gives you an idea of how thin the pitching market really is this offseason. As long as Andy Pettitte keeps up his Brett Favre routine, Brian Cashman has little choice but to throw crap against the wall and hope something sticks.
The Yankees had a similar dearth in rotation depth back in 2005 only to be miraculously bailed out by Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon, two men now remembered as one-hit wonders on the level of Hoobastank.
Cashman is hoping to catch lightning in a bottle again this season. If Pettitte stays gone, Garcia, Colon, Mark Prior, Sergio Mitre and Ivan Nova will all get their shot to claim the final two spots in the rotation.
There's no hiding that this is a huge gamble for the Yankees. This is a potentially season-wrecking problem for which there's no easy solution. If none of the pitchers prove up to the task—and let's face it, that's certainly possible—the Yankees will be staring down the barrel of a dark October.
They're going to need some luck. Like with Prior and Colon, the Garcia signing is an admission of that on some level. Cashman knows he doesn't have any ideal fits, but the more pitchers he involves in the process the better his odds that he hits on another Chacon or Small.
It's the same story, different day for the Yankees, who continue their scramble to create a rotation while simultaneously praying Pettitte decides Deer Park can wait another year.
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