Sunday, December 26, 2010

George King: Yankees Interested in Webb, Garcia, and Francis (Updated)

(UPDATED: 4:57PM) So much for Webb, he just signed with the Rangers.

As per the New York Post:
The Rangers beat the Yankees in the ALCS, then watched Cliff Lee jilt both the Yankees and themselves.

Yet, the Rangers still have the Yankees on their minds. The AL champs have an interest in free agent pitcher Brandon Webb, and this week heard Webb had a visit with the Yankees planned this coming week in New York.

That, according to a Yankees source, isn't accurate. While the Yankees are monitoring Webb, they don't appear to be in a hurry to do anything with the right-hander who, due to shoulder problems, has worked one game in the past two years.

With Lee in Philadelphia and Andy Pettitte "leaning toward" retirement, according to general manager Brian Cashman, the Yankees need at least one starter.

However, the pool wasn't deep with Lee in the water.

"There is not much available," Cashman said this week.

The Yankees have asked for Freddy Garcia's medical records, have an interest in lefty Jeff Francis and are monitoring Webb. The Phillies are watching what Pettitte does, because they are expected to dangle right-hander Joe Blanton as trade bait.

Garcia went 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA in 28 games for the White Sox last year. Due to shoulder woes, he appeared in a dozen games combined in 2008 and 2009.

An organization not interested in Webb believes he might not be ready until July.

Francis missed the entire 2009 season due to shoulder surgery and went 4-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 20 games for the Rockies last season. He was 17-9 in 2007 but a combined 8-16 in 2008-10.

With Cashman admitting stud prospects Manuel Banuelos and Dellin Betances aren't ready -- along with existing doubts that Ivan Nova can fill a spot in the back of the rotation -- the chances of the Yankees adding an arm before the July 31 trade deadline are good.

Francis, 30 early next month, is intriguing. He has a 55-50 career record and a 4.77 ERA in six seasons. Shoulder surgery robbed him of 2009 and he didn't pitch until May of this past season. After paying Francis $5.8 million, the Rockies declined a $7 million option.

He isn't Lee or Pettitte. But if healthy, he likely is better than Nova or Sergio Mitre.

"He could be a fourth starter for the Yankees, he has no fear and a big heart," an NL talent evaluator said of Francis.
Of these three, I would prefer Jeff Francis - he's a lefty, he limits walks, and he keeps the ball on the ground. Brandon Webb would be next in-line, despite his injury concerns, as I cannot purge my memories of his past dominance. Freddy Garcia represents the bottom of the barrel, though he could be a solid back-end starter.

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