Freddy Garcia Can Best Help the Yankees by Moving On

One of my pet causes—besides truth, justice, and the American way, I mean—is the way that managers and general managers have stuffed 25-man rosters with pitchers the way that my local diner stuffs French toast with cream cheese until it resembles a yeasty breakfast pustule about to burst. Nowadays teams carry 12 pitchers routinely and often more than that. In my misspent youth the number was often ten, a total unthinkable today. The Yankees currently carry 12, but it seems to me that they are making a strong argument that they can get by with just 11.

The name of that argument is Freddy Garcia. Since being bounced from the starting rotation with a terminal case of damn the torpedoes, you may fire on the pitcher when ready, Gridley, and remember the Maine, the Chief has pitched just six times for a total of 11 innings. Yesterday's appearance in support of Andy Pettitte was his first in 12 games. By any other name, we would call this a wasted roster spot.

Too often this season, Joe Girardi has had too few options on the bench, Chris "The Year of the Cat" Stewart and another player or two whose usage is limited, such as Dewayne Wise, who is the last verse of "Casey at the Bat" stretched out over an entire career. With another player, the manager would have a great deal more flexibility, particularly in shuffling about his non-Granderson outfielders and designated hitters until Brett Gardner makes his long-awaited return.

Contracts speak loudly, and Garcia's is keeping him on the roster. However, the money is gone either way, and he is serving as an impediment to the winning effort now. Even if the roster spot is given to another pitcher who has the team's confidence, that would be a better use than holding on to Garcia in case of an injury to a starter, not when he failed to hold a job in the first place and cannot reasonably be expected to rediscover his magic of early last season. Outside of the Harry Potter movies, magic comes and goes unpredictably, and you can't count on it appearing when you need it.

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