Dodgers Bullpen: Will Yimi Garcia Earn a 2019 Opening Day Roster Spot?

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Once touted throughout the entire Dodgers organization for his exceptional spin rate, reliever Yimi Garcia could be on the outside looking in when in comes to a 2019 Opening Day roster spot.

If you’ve been following along with our recent posts surrounding Los Angeles’ prospective bullpen for the upcoming season, you’ll know that spots on the 25-man roster will be at a premium, especially at the beginning of the year. What’s more, there are two players—Garcia and righty swing man Brock Stewart—who are out of options and may even see themselves with a different organization once all the dust settles on the Opening Day roster.

The good news for Garcia is that he was tendered a contract for 2019 and he avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms to a deal on Friday. This shows that management still sees value in the 28-year-old righty, and for all intents and purposes, indicates that he’ll be battling for a roster spot during 2019 Cactus League play starting next month.

Remarkably, Garcia had the best spin-rate on a fastball in the majors heading into his 2016 campaign. Thanks to the wonders of Statcast, Garcia’s spin rate averaged 2553 RPM at that point in time, and this is worth noting because that much fastball spin is usually unheard of. The big league average that season was 2198 RPM.

During his impressive 2015 season, Garcia threw 56-2/3 innings over 59 games while posting a 3.20 FIP, a 0.953 WHIP alongside 68 punchouts. His 10.8 K/9 that year was the highest of his career, which has been otherwise drastically hampered by a plethora of injuries.

He threw just 14 major league games in 2016, and after trying to battle through elbow issues all year long, it was determined that he needed UCL surgery, which eventually kept him sidelined for the entirety of the 2017 season.

Many thought that 2018 would see Garcia re-emerge as a big league contributor, but management decided to keep him at Triple-A Oklahoma City to fine-tune his mechanics and build up his arm strength. He was initially recalled in early May, but didn’t really flash any impressive stuff. He rotated back and forth between the bigs and minors most of the year, and he was once again curbed by a few nagging injuries that prevented him from achieving any momentum, although he did make a fairly respectable run down the stretch of the regular season.

When his 2018 season was said and done, Garcia tallied a 6.34 FIP and a 1.48 WHIP while striking out 19 and walking four in 22-1/3 innings over 25 games.

As far as his repertoire goes, he’s best known for his nasty slider, but he compliments it with a mid-nineties fastball that has been known to reach up to 97 MPH. He has experimented with a changeup over the years, but still has not found much success with it, which isn’t entirely necessary for his intended role in relief. His arm angle is extremely deceptive and is a critical part of his mechanics when he’s throwing well.

Being that Garcia’s out of options and considering that players like Caleb Ferguson are likely to begin the year at Triple-A OKC, there’s a fairly reasonable shot that Yimi does indeed make the Opening Day roster, although the final determination will be based on how well he throws this spring.

If he does not make the 25-man roster, he’ll need to be released, because he has no options remaining on his contract. If that would be the case, he could still theoretically return to the organization if no other team claims him.

Garcia was originally signed for $50K as an 18-year-old free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2009.


16 thoughts on “Dodgers Bullpen: Will Yimi Garcia Earn a 2019 Opening Day Roster Spot?

  1. Here’s a list of all the misses AF has had over the previous 3 free agent signings. Top ten lists
    2015-16. Price, Heyward, Grienke, Upton, Davis, Cespedea, Zimmerman, Cueto, A. Gordon, Desmond
    2016-17. Cespedes, Encarnacion, Chapman, Turner, Jansen, Fowler, Hellickson, Trumbull, Desmond, Nova
    2017-18. Darvish Martinez, Hosmer, Arrieta, Tanaka, Moustakas, Cain, W. Davis, L. Lynn, Holland, Morrow
    Common guys give it a rest. The only guy on these lists I’d like to have in our lineup is JD Martinez but he’s an DH. His D makes Kemp look like a gold glove! AF has saved us from a lot of bad contracts. And he’s made the best 2 trade deadline acquisitions. Darvish in 17 and Machado in 18. They were both best players on market at that time. Not his fault they didn’t live up to their potential! There are a lot of GM’s who’d like to rip up those contracts they gave out!

  2. I don’t see any way that Yimi goes unclaimed if we put him on waivers. Hopefully he has a great ST and we can find a spot on the roster for him. If not, I’m betting he winds up in a Giants uni this year. Guys with injuries can go two ways. Either their body finally gives in to all the physical stress the injuries have caused and they never really come back, or it just takes a little longer than expected and they come back to being what everyone expected them to be. Hopefully, Yimi will be the latter and hopefully in a Dodger uniform.

  3. Sorry Dennis, I had to get that off my chest. I’m a big Garcia fan and hope he can turn it around next year. They will,give him every chance

  4. Point we’ll taken Rich there are plenty of busts on that list, but that still doesn’t change the fact that we have not replaced the production from the outfield that we traded away, I don’t care about the money they have plenty, Harper would make us better.

  5. I’m a pro Friedman guy in general, my beef is with ownership, that seems to all the sudden want to become tight with the money, when we all know they make plenty off of this team.

  6. But it’s not just Dodgers. Yankees and Boston both scrambling to stay under cap. I’m confident that by trade deadline we will have a big right handed bat in our lineup. If not then I’ll be upset.

  7. I’ve always liked Garcia. Great arm. At least it usta was. Hopefully he’s fully recovered. He has bridge stuff. At least, he usta did.

  8. I hope we get to keep Garcia, I’d like to see what he could do.he should be as recovered as he is going to be, he had a ton of upside before he got hurt.

  9. I guess I’m just a little frustrated Rich, I thought getting under the cap last year was for a reset, I didn’t think that was going to be our new norm.

    1. I think most of us believed it was merely a reset. I still have heard nothing that explains why it’s so important to stay under the cap. Who knows, maybe they won’t.

  10. We need someone to figure out where the payroll stands at this moment, so we can see how much we can spend, and stay under the cap. We here at tbpc can help Andrew spend the rest of his money. Every penny of it.

    1. They are sitting right now at about 186 million. So forget Harper. He is a pipe dream They have one open roster spot. But that can change. Rich, they offered Greinke 5 years, 150 million plus. But they would not go to the 6th year that AZ offered at the last minute. The report was Greinke was about 30 minutes from signing the Dodger deal when AZ jumped in. I am sure they regret that now. I am not a Friedman guy, never have been and I make no bones about it. 60 plus years being a fan and seeing how previous Championship teams were built has made me disdainful of his dumpster diving tactics. Yep, he got Machado and he got Darvish, and he is not responsible for their lack luster performance as Dodgers. But by that logic neither should he be awarded praise for the guys who exceeded expectations. Never, not once has he signed an impact player in free agency except his own, Jansen and Turner. You can be an impact player without being a huge superstar. Turner is that kind of guy, Freese is a really good clubhouse guy, and will have a crucial role on this team.

  11. Well I think we all thought that by staying under the cap last year and resetting the penalties we were ready to sign Harper or Machado. But the question is if your the Dodger GM do you give Harper 10 and 350. Is he worth it. Another left handed bat. A guy who has had one great year, one good year and the others pretty average years- low to mid 800 OPS. Is he the one to get us over the hump to win multiple WS’s. Or is he end up a financial albatross who prevents us from being a consistent post season player and signing all of our good young talent long term? He’s going to push us way over the cap and you can’t stay there consistently. I say he isn’t worth it!

    1. I think it depends on his attitude toward taking criticism and working on his glaring weakness. If I’m in the room with him and his agent I would be direct. I’d show him the film of those plays where he is running around chasing a fly ball looking like it was dropped out of a blimp or something. I’d tell him we don’t play defense like that in LA and inform that if we are paying him $185,000 a night he will spend at least one hour every day between now and Opening Day running down balls in the outfield. Then I wait for his response. If he’s humble and agrees, then I would consider a contract that takes him through age 34. It’s my opinion that his offense is worth $30 million. Defense is just matter of hard work. It’s like putting in golf. It’s not as sexy as driving the ball, but you don’t win if you don’t work on it. Harper is 26 and has already put up 27.4 oWAR. He ain’t Mike Trout but it’s rare air. Age 25 and 26, his last two years, he’s put up over 4 each year. He may get better over the next 5 years, again depending on his work ethic. If he’s a prima donna, then excuse my language but f*** him. But if he’s actually a baller and outworks everybody one the field then he’s my guy.

      Frankly, from a GM point of view 30 and 100 would make any team better, ego notwithstanding.

      I don’t know the guy but just the whole hair thing makes him look like narcissistic pretty boy to me. The way he plays defense suggests he doesn’t give a sh*t about that half of the game. I’ve never seen him smile so I have no idea the level of joy he has for the game level. Maybe he’s not what he looks like. But at this point I’m saying ….. whatever….. let’s get this over with.

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