By Sweeny Murti
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Now that the Yankees have chosen Freddy Garcia as their 5th starter, here’s a “What If?” for you. Carl Pavano.

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The guy dubbed “American Idle” by the New York Post when he started only 26 games over four years in pinstripes has made 65 starts the last two seasons. Pavano had thrown more innings by the end of July last year than he did in all four seasons with the Yankees combined.

And this past winter, after Cliff Lee came off the board, Pavano was the next best available starter. And the Yankees did seriously consider him, in fact offering Pavano a one-year deal.

Sunday, as Pavano tuned up for his Opening Day assignment for the Twins by facing the Yankees in an exhibition game in Fort Myers, Joe Girardi talked about the possibility that Pavano might be in his rotation right now if things had gone differently this winter:

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Pavano was an easy target for fans and media, but Brian Cashman always stood up for the signing, pointing to the numerous injuries, all very real and debilitating. And despite all the venom directed at him, Pavano knew he had an ally in Cashman and that was the biggest reason for this winter’s flirtation.

I always had great respect for Brian Cashman,” Pavano told reporters shortly after re-signing with the Twins. “I still, through the years, have had contact with him, and we’ve stayed in touch. When they won the World Series (in 2009), I called him to congratulate him because he was nothing but a class gentleman when I was there. He treated me with a lot of respect, and that shows a lot, that he was going to stick his neck out there for me if something was going to work out.”

Whether Carl Pavano 2.0 ever would have worked in New York will have to remain a mystery, but as the Yankees muddle through a summer of Freddy Garica, Bartolo Colon, Kevin Millwood, and anybody else that may come along over the next 162 games…will you ever wish the Yankees had signed Pavano (31-23, 4.39 ERA in 420.1 innings since 2009) instead?

Sweeny Murti

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A big ‘what if’. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below…