On Saturday, Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi announced the final spot in his rotation would go to Freddy Garcia, effectively ending the spring training battle between Garcia and fellow offseason signing, Bartolo Colon. Colon will start the year in the bullpen as the long reliever. 

The decision seems to have come down to history rather than performance; While Colon outperformed Garcia during the spring, he spent all of the 2010 season sitting at home getting wider, while Garcia threw 157 innings as a starter in Detroit. 

“The innings that Freddy has logged in, the wins last year,” Girardi said. “He stayed healthy all of last year.”

Neither pitcher is a particularly attractive option for the Yanks, but upon losing out on the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, there options became limited. Still, other avenues could have been pursued (this week’s signing of Kevin Millwood being one of those avenues).

Garcia is almost the very definition of a “pitch to contact guy.” His strikeout rate in 2010 was unimpressive, as was his groundball rate, indicating part of his success was a product of playing his home games in Comerica Park. Even with the ballpark help, Garcia’s ERA (4.64) and FIP (4.77) in ’10 are indicative of a fringe starter and moving into both the AL East and Yankee Stadium will probably only compound the problem. 

The prospects here don’t bode well for the Yankees. Expect a season long game of musical chairs in the back-end of the rotation. 

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