Agent: Freddy Garcia may stay in NY

NEW YORK -- With free agency beginning on Thursday, Freddy Garcia and the New York Yankees plan to have further discussions about the right-hander returning to the rotation in 2012.

"I think there is mutual interest," said Chris Leible, one of Garcia's agents. "I think Freddy had a good year and enjoyed playing there."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and Garcia's agents had a brief discussion prior to CC Sabathia being re-signed. Cashman wanted to bring Sabathia into the fold before fully determining the rest of his offseason plan.

With Sabathia signed, Cashman said he now could be "conservative" and not be in an "emotional, over-reactive state because we are vulnerable."

With Sabathia on board, it appears Cashman has four-fifths of his rotation set with Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett behind Sabathia.

Cashman is expected to at least be involved in talks with the top free agents, but he will not go on a major pursuit like he did a year ago when he flew to Arkansas to meet with Cliff Lee shortly after free agency opened.

With the Yankees believing many of their top prospects are ready or near ready for the majors, they may turn to Garcia over free agents C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt, Edwin Jackson and Japanese phenom Yu Darvish.

Last year, Garcia's numbers were better or nearly as good as the top free agents. In the AL East, Garcia, 35, finished 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA. Wilson, who will soon turn 31, was 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA, but pitched in the AL West and with the Rangers' superior infield defense behind him. Buehrle, who will turn 33 by the time next season begins, was 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA. Jackson, 28, was 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA.

Oswalt, 34, ended the season at 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA in the National League. Wednesday, a source told ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews that the Yankees have concerns about Oswalt's back and may be hesitant to pursue him.

Last season, Garcia signed a minor league contract that paid him $1.5 million plus incentives. If he were willing to take a one-year deal again, he would allow for prospects Hector Noesi, Adam Warren, David Phelps, D.J. Mitchell, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances to further develop, while not clogging up the rotation for years to come.

Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.