Dodgers: Why the Front Office Trust Yimi Garcia to be the Setup Man in 2018

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 31: Reliever Yimi Garcia
ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 31: Reliever Yimi Garcia /

After an overall underwhelming Winter Meetings; especially in the case of the Dodgers. The Dodgers walked away with no improvements and the loss of a key reliever in Brandon Morrow. But no need to worry Dodger fans, Yimi Garcia will be back for 2018 and fill the roll Morrow had in 2017.

The Dodgers are fresh off their first World Series appearance since 1988. One would think that being so close and not getting it done would force the front office into spending to get over the final hump. However, the Dodgers have stood pat and done nothing noteworthy. One reason for this is luxury tax implications, but the other is faith in the organizational depth that this front office has built.

Believe it or no, Andrew Friedman and the rest of the front office actually know what they are doing.

Was Brandon Morrow elite last season? Yes, yes he was. Would I have loved to bring him back? Yes, Yes I would have. The Dodgers didn’t bring him back and let him stroll on over to the north side of Chicago and join the Cubs. Though it would’ve been great to keep him, the writing was on the wall. It was made clear by Friedman that they were looking in-house to solve the problem rather than re-signing Morrow.

As the tweet shows, Friedman was speaking highly of the Dominican right-hander Yimi Garcia. Saying he will be back with a vengeance was essentially Friedman’s way of saying they were not worried about losing Morrow because they have another pitcher who could perform just as well. For those who may not know Garcia, he’s pitched one complete season with the Dodgers.

That is due to some major injuries. After being a consistent piece during the 2015 season, he was expected to be a key contributor during the 2016 season, but an elbow and bicep injury held him to just eight games. Eventually needing to undergo the infamous Tommy John Surgery that put him out for all of 2017 while he was rehabbing and fully recovering.

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The one full season he did pitch, Garcia was pretty solid. Boasting a 3.34 ERA in 56.2 innings pitched along with 68 strikeouts to counter just 10 walks. He also managed to have a WHIP below 1.00 and even notched his first save during that 2015 season.

2016 he was back on track to hover around those same numbers starting his first nine appearances of the season with a 3.24 ERA and 4 strikeouts. But the injury bug bit him and bit him hard. He was unable to return for the remainder of 2016 and rehab kept him out of the entire 2017 season.

Luckily for Garcia and Dodger fans alike, Tommy John Surgery is not the worst thing in the world. Though it does have some issues like a higher risk of re-injury, it can also come with some perks. Many pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery come back throwing harder.

It is not the surgery itself that suddenly gets the pitchers arm throwing 2-3 MPH harder but rather it is the strenuous rehab that is the culprit behind this. The rehabilitation process can take months of grinding to get back into comfortable enough shape to throw the ball. All that work helps build even more arm strength and gets that little extra velocity out of the pitchers.

The entire Dodgers organization has put their faith in Yimi Garcia to come back and be the same pitcher he was in 2015. I believe Garcia has the tools and support necessary to return to form once the regular season comes around. With a pitching coach like Rick Honeycutt helping him out he can be even better than before.

Garcia is essentially a three-pitch pitcher. He has a fastball the since in the low to mid 90’s a slider and a changeup. But I wouldn’t be surprised if that fastball sits in the mid to upper mid 90’s at least during the beginning of the season. Having him is just another weapon that Dave Roberts can deploy out of that bullpen.

Yimi Garcia will fill the same role that Joe Blanton filled in 2016 and Brandon Morrow filled in 2017, which is pitching in high leverage situations not in the 9th inning because that is Kenley time. Garcia shared that role with fan favorite Pedro Baez in 2015 and will now look to take it back over in 2018.

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Garcia is an addition to this team without spending extra money because he is already under contract. He is a bargain compared to many other reliever contracts that are being handed out at the moment. He was once solid and the Dodgers need him to return just as he left. If he can do just that, the Dodgers will once again look like geniuses for taking a shot on a lesser known player.