Dodgers: Yimi Garcia finds himself on the roster bubble

The tender/non-tender deadline is today at 8 PM Eastern Time.  Yimi Garcia is one of the Dodgers who finds himself on the roster bubble.

The Dodgers and the rest of Major League Baseball have until 8 PM Eastern Time tonight to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players.  One Dodger who finds himself in question of being tendered is Yimi Garcia.  Yimi is projected to earn just over one million dollars in arbitration but the Dodgers could always agree to a lower rate as they did with Scott Alexander on Sunday night.

Yimi Garcia had an interesting 2019 season. The opposition did not find many base hits against him but when they did, a good amount of them were home runs.  Yimi Garcia held left-handed batters to a .171 average and right-handed batters to a .182 average.  His 3.61 ERA seemed higher than it should be but his FIP came in at a much higher 5.19.

Garcia has always had decent stuff. He features a mid-90s fastball, a curveball, slider, and a changeup that has good diving action when it is on.  Yimi averaged 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings in 2019 which is indicative of his stuff.  But there is the one big issue with him which is his home run rate.

In 2019, Yimi Garcia allowed 2.1 home runs per nine innings.  This can be attributed to his fly ball rate of 56%.  In the era of the “juiced baseball”, and hitters trying to launch home runs now more than ever, the chances of Yimi dropping his home run problem remain slim.  His fastball movement has been cut in half from 2015 which was when he first appeared to be a reliever with a promising future.

So now the Dodgers must decide what to do with Yimi Garcia who is out of options and at the moment on a loaded forty man roster.  It has less to do with his salary which at one million is hardly an issue.  It has more to do with whether the Dodgers think Yimi Garcia will cut down on his home run rate in 2020.

When Yimi avoids the long ball he is a serviceable reliever, but when he doesn’t it can lead to plenty of frustration.  After the All-Star break, Yimi did his best work, posting an ERA of 2.96 although even in the first half he held the opposition to a .148 average despite a 4.11 ERA.  The Dodgers could do better, but they could also do worse in a bullpen that needs a bit of an overhaul.

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The Dodgers will likely tender Garcia a contract but if they do not it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.  This is a true coin flip and it just depends on what Andrew Friedman’s plans are for the winter.  If Friedman plans on adding a few relievers to the Dodger bullpen then Yimi could be non-tendered to clear roster space.  If he only plans on adding one reliever then Yimi likely gets tendered.