It has been a quiet week in MLB news, as the free agent class is getting smaller and teams are running out of players to round out their teams. Now more teams will looking to sign high risk, high reward players. Or veterans who are trying to bounce back and revive their careers. Most of these players will not make much of an impact on fantasy baseball for this coming season but I believe Freddy Garcia and Justin Duchscherer have value if things fall their way.
Freddy Garcia signs minor league contract with New York Yankees
Another interesting veteran pitcher who signed this week was Freddy Garcia. Garcia has decided to call the Bronx his home next season. The Yankees have signed him to a minor league contract this week, which means he isn’t guaranteed a spot on the major league club. However, I do think his chances are pretty good as the Yankees are very weak on the bottom half of their rotation.
Right now, Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre are the two leading candidates for the final two spots. Freddy Garcia will be competing with those two, along with Bartolo Colon, for those final spots. If Garcia has a strong spring training he shouldn’t have a problem claiming one of them. Last season Freddy Garcia was 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA and 89 strikeouts for the Chicago White Sox, his best season since 2006.
Garcia is entering the tough AL East but he is joining the Yankees who have one of the best offenses in the game. This means that even though his ERA was a little high last season, he should still have plenty of opportunities to rack up the wins. So, if he does make the rotation for the Yankees Garcia could have some value as a spot starter in fantasy baseball.
Justin Duchscherer signs one year deal with Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles are quietly bringing in quality players this off-season including Mark Reynolds, Derrek Lee, closer Kevin Gregg and now starting pitcher Justin Duchscherer. It will be interesting to see how this group of players will work with the O’s current group of young players like Matt Weiters, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and Jeremy Guthrie.
If the Orioles are going to be competitive this season, they will need to have Duchscherer return to 2008 form when he went to the All-Star game as a starting pitcher. That year was his first year as a full time starting pitcher and went 10-8 with a 2.54 ERA and 95 Ks in 141.2 innings pitched. For his career he is 33-25 and a 3.13 ERA.
He has shown at times that he has some real talent to be a top line pitcher. However, he has struggled with injuries and issues off the field over the past two years. He has only pitched 28 innings since 2008.
All indications are that Duchscherer is healthy and ready to go this year. If this is the case, he could be a steal for Baltimore, as well as fantasy owners willing to give him a shot in the late rounds. He would have more value if he didn’t have to pitch in the tough AL East but he is definitely considered a sleeper heading into the 2011 season.
This move also helps the other Baltimore Orioles pitchers, more specifically Brian Matusz who is entering his second year. This will allow Matusz be slotted into the third spot in the rotation behind Guthrie and Duchscherer, taking some of the pressure off.