This was a decision I am very happy with, as Phelps has looked great in his long relief role, while Freddy Garcia has looked terrible in his rotation role.
This past off-season the Yankees faced a decision of either re-signing Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon, both members of the 2011 Yankees rotation. The Yankees chose Freddy Garcia, Sir Smoke and Mirrors himself, and signed Garcia to a $4 million deal.
The decision is not a popular one right now, but the Yankees made the correct decision. The Yankees had to sign someone as without the signing the Yankees would have no leverage in any potential trades or signings. Sure, the Yankees went out and got Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda, and Andy Pettitte, but the team had no leverage and no ability to predict the future.
While many are crying out for Bartolo Colon right now, it seems like many are also forgetting Colon's main fault, the reason he was left off of the playoff roster as well.
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Colon's 2nd half ERA was a putrid 4.96, to go along with his 91 hits allowed in 74.1 innings pitched, and his .298 batting average against. Colon's out pitch, his two-seam fastball, looked awful, and Colon's average outing towards the end of the season was no longer than 5-6 innings pitched.
Following his fat man stem cell surgery, Colon had to build up his inning count at a slow rate, as suggested to the Yankees, and as stated by the Yankees. Despite this, the Yankees kept throwing Colon out there, and he progressively regressed.
If the choice was truly between Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, the right decision was to pick the man that can give the Yankees length rather than the pitcher that loses it towards the end of the season. Sadly, the luck ran out for Garcia, while Colon is off to another great start.
Hindsight is certainly 20/20, but the Yankees made the safe decision in the off-season. Hopefully Andy Pettitte makes it a moot point.