Yankees Acquire Garcia and Miceli From Cleveland

In a move announced Wednesday afternoon, the Yankees acquired OF Karim Garcia and RHP Dan Miceli from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later. To make room on the roster for the new players, OF Charles Gipson and RHP Mike Thurman were released. Let's break down the deal.

Garcia went into spring training in 2002 with the Indians, but was released before the season began. The Yankees picked him up and he spent most of his time in the minor leagues before being called up for two games. In five at bats with the Yankees, Garcia picked up just one hit before being released when the Yanks traded for Raul Mondesi.

Garcia went back to Cleveland and came alive. The left-hander hit 16 homeruns and drove in 52 runs in 53 games with the Indians and led the major leagues in RBI in the second half of the season.

This year, Garcia was expected to be one of Cleveland's top hitters but injuries caused him to struggle. Garcia was batting just .194 in 24 games when he was placed on the disabled list with a wrist injury. He came off the DL just in time to be sent back to the Yankees, where he figures to be a left-handed bat off the bench for Joe Torre.

Miceli is a hard-throwing journeyman reliever. He began this season with the Colorado Rockies before being released after just 14 games while posting a lofty 5.66 ERA. Cleveland snatched him up and Miceli has been successful since.

In 13 games with the Indians, Miceli is 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA. He has great strikeout numbers – an excellent quality for a reliever – with 19 Ks in 15 innings for Cleveland. For his career, Miceli has a K/9 innings ratio of 8.21.

Miceli's best season came in 1998 with the Padres, when he went 10-5 with a 3.22 ERA in 67 games for San Diego. Miceli will hopefully fill a void in the Yankees pen, which has been hampered by injuries, and not so good to begin with. As a righty, Miceli is effective against right-handed batters, but this year he is keeping left-handers to a .211 batting average.

Gipson, whose primary role on the team was to be a pinch runner, was designated for assignment after failing in that role. Gipson was picked off for the third time this season on Sunday against the Mets. In ten at bats this season, Gipson was hitting just .200 with two stolen bases.

Thurman was called up last Tuesday and did not appear in a game before being released.

Analysis: While this isn't a deal that will immediately cause the Yankees to run away with the division, it is one that makes sense for the team.

Gipson was arguably doing more harm than good. As a pinch runner, his only job was to run the bases well which he failed to do. Gipson was picked off three times, something that is inexcusable. Thurman, though he didn't pitch this season for the Yankees, had a 5.20 ERA in AAA and hasn't proven he can pitch at the major-league level. In 105 games with the Expos and Yankees, Thurman had a major-league ERA of 5.05.

Miceli is a better-than-average middle reliever, and a good third option out of the bullpen (behind Osuna – who is injured – and Hammond). Miceli's strikeout numbers are excellent, and he doesn't walk many batters. That being said, Miceli hasn't pitched for a team with as high expectations as the Yankees have. During his 11 years in the majors, Miceli has pitched for Pittsburgh, Detroit, San Diego (including the '98 team that faced the Yankees in the World Series), Florida, Colorado, Texas and Cleveland.

Garcia had a monstrous second half of the 2002 season and, if his injury is healed, should be productive off the bench for Torre. Besides that, the Yankees have caught a bit of the injury bug. Bernie Williams and Nick Johnson are out, and Ruben Sierra is injury prone. With Sierra playing almost everyday Garcia is now the first left-handed option off the bench for the Yankees, and he's got power.

What makes this deal even better for the Yankees is the cost involved. The Yankees had been looking to deal for a top reliever (Jason Grimsley, Ugueth Urbina or Armando Benitez for instance), but they likely would have had to deal a top prospect along the lines of Johnson, Juan Rivera or Brandon Claussen. The player to be named will likely be a mid-level prospect from AA that won't affect the team's future dramatically. This way, the Yanks can see what they get from Miceli. If he doesn't work out, then they can take another look at the reliever market and re-evaluate their position.

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