If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the New York Yankees may want to follow the lead of the Boston Red Sox in grabbing what could be a bargain of a pitcher. While the Red Sox inked Bartolo Colon to a minor league pact, the Yankees would be equally wise to inquire about the services of Freddy Garcia.
Though Garcia may not be ready until about June or July, he's well worth the risk. Because aside from his injury last season, only once in his career (2000) has he ever not hit at least 200 innings in a season. As evidenced by their 2007 campaign, one can never have enough pitching and Garcia seems to fit the bill as a solid insurance policy. He's even younger than Colon and would add an effective veteran presence to the staff, even moreso than Roger Clemens did when he joined the staff last June.
Signing Garcia if even for a short time works well for the Yankees needs. If say for instance Andy Pettitte is worn down by off-field distractions, Mike Mussina really is over the hill, Phil Hughes pops a hammy, Ian Kennedy is back down in Wilkes-Barre and Joba Chamberlain is desperately needed in an ultra-thin bullpen, Garcia could truly be that pick-me-up the Yankees need. Now hopefully none of those things happen, but this could also be a beyond 2008 plus for the Yanks.
Assuming Garcia pitches well, at 33 as one of the veterans on the staff he could take Mussina's spot in the rotation after his contract is up or if for some reason Pettitte decides to ultimately hang 'em up.
Garcia is also needed because if the Yankees truly plan to limit the amount of innings on their young trio of Hughes-Chamberlain-Kennedy, to say 150 innings a piece, it is paramount to have someone to be able to eat those innings. Another plus out of this is that unlike Roger Clemens, this won't cost them $28 million either.
Did I mention that Garcia also has an impressive post-season resume? Overall he is 6-2 with a 3.11 ERA and 45 K's in 55 innings. He won a ring with the Chicago White Sox in 2005, pitching a gem in the World Series against the Houston Astros allowing no runs in seven innings striking out seven along the way to pick up the win. His first post-season win if you're wondering came at... Yankee Stadium.