As we wait for Tanaka to choose his new team, there are three notable free agent pitchers who’ve been held hostage by the Japanese hurler as they wait for clarity on their own situations. They are Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Ervin Santana. While none of these pitchers are as highly-regarded as Tanaka, each of them could become a Plan B option for teams who are unsuccessful in the Masahiro sweepstakes. This could include the Yankees.

Brian Cashman has already indicated he could go dumpster-diving to fill out the rotation. Another option could be to acquire one of these less-than-ideal, but moderately productive pitchers. Ah…the joys of having no farm system.

Let’s break down each:

Matt Garza, 30, RHP

Whenever there is mention of Matt Garza and the Yankees, the first thing that’s always brought up is that he’s “AL-East tested.” Well, he last pitched for Tampa in 2010, so we’re not sure how much relevance that carries anymore. However, since Garza left Tampa, he’s continued to be a solid pitcher, with his best season coming in 2011 (Cubs), when he was worth 4.9 WAR on the back of 198 innings and a 3.32 ERA/2.95 FIP/3.19 xFIP.

His 2012 season was shortened (103 IP) with a “stress reaction” in his right elbow (no surgery), and he only managed 155 innings in 2013 due to a strained lat muscle suffered in spring training.

However, in this last season split between Chicago and Texas, he still put up a quality 3.82 ERA/3.88 FIP/3.73 xFIP (3.96 FIP/3.65 xFIP in 84 IP w/ TEX). For those SABR nerds scoring at home, that was good for a ERA- of 93 (7% better than an average pitcher, both park and league-adjusted), FIP- of 95, and xFIP- of 97 — all right in line with his career averages.

Since leaving Tampa, he’s thrown waaaay more offspeed pitches, but with no notable decline in fastball velocity.

Garza is an above-average pitcher, and there’s a decent chance he’ll be worth 2.5-ish to a ceiling of 3 WAR over each of the next 2-3 seasons if he can manage around 180-200 innings pitched per year — which is the value available projection systems also forecast.

NoMaas view: Fangraphs crowdsourcing predicts a 4 yr / $59 million deal for Garza ($14.75 mil AAV). That’s a little expensive for him but, in the current market, it’s not awful. If the Yankees could get him on a 3-year deal, even better. Garza would not require the loss of draft pick since he was trading during last season, but the Yankees have punted on the 2014 draft, so who cares at this point.

Ubaldo Jimenez, 30 (in January), RHP

Oh, Ubaldo, how you’ve taunted us over the years. From 2008-2010, Jimenez was a young ace, putting up sick numbers in of all places — Colorado — but also in a rampant offensive MLB run environment. Over 638 innings, he had a 3.43 ERA/3.42 FIP/3.77 xFIP, and was worth 16 wins above replacement. His park and league-adjusted numbers were crazy, with a 74 ERA-, a 74 FIP-, and a 90 xFIP-.

Ubaldo never reached those heights again, although his 2011 season wasn’t bad either. He was still worth 3.3 WAR, despite a 4.68 ERA — because his FIP and xFIP, were 3.67 and 3.71, respectively.

What worries people about Jimenez is his disaster 2012 full season with Cleveland. In nearly 180 innings of work, he pitched terribly to the tune of a 5.40 ERA/5.06 FIP/4.98 xFIP. His groundball rate dropped to to a career-low 38.4%. And the most alarming problem was his big drop in fastball velocity, going from 96 mph in 2010 to 92.5 mph in 2012.

With a significant velocity drop and awful numbers, many were quick to stick the fork in Ubaldo — then 2013 happened. The former ace fired back with 182 innings of 3.30 ERA/3.43 FIP/3.62 xFIP ball, and was worth 3.3 WAR. His park and league-adjusted numbers were all better than the aforementioned Matt Garza, with an ERA- of 86, a FIP- of 90, and an xFIP- of 91. For those that prefer Garza, realize that Jimenez was the better pitcher in 2013.

In fact, Ubaldo’s 9.56 K/9 was a career-high and ranked 7th in MLB among all starting pitchers. How did he revert to his successful ways? It appears Jimenez adjusted to the reduced velocity and altered his pitch type selection. In 2013, he threw fastballs 8% less often than in 2010, and really jacked up the amount of sliders, which comprised about 25% of his pitches, up nearly 10% from his Colorado days. Re-invention was the theme of Ubaldo’s year and it paid dividends.

NoMaas view: Upside is larger with Ubaldo than with Garza, but the risk is obviously more too due to the decreased velo and questions if his re-invention can be carried over into the future. However, Ubaldo was an ace not terribly long ago, and he is only 30. Fangraphs crowdsourcing predicts a 4 year / $48 million deal ($12 million AAV) for him. If Ubaldo can replicate 2013 or come close to that over the next 2-3 seasons, he’d be worth that money and potentially be a bargain at $12 million per. This is a tough one. He’s probably the most confusing free agent this offseason. Three years, and we’d do a deal. Four years is pushing it due to concerns about his velocity.

Ervin Santana, 31, RHP

Santana, like Jimenez, had a disastrous 2012 campaign with a 5.16 ERA/5.63 FIP/4.48 xFIP. And like Jimenez, he re-invented himself in 2013 (although not as drastically as Ubaldo), relying more on a two-seam fastball/sinker that helped increase his groundball rate to a career-high 46.2%. He was worth 3.0 WAR on the back of a 3.24 ERA/3.93 FIP/3.69 xFIP over 211 innings — quite the comeback.

A fair amount of Santana’s worth over the years comes from his ability to log innings. Since 2010, he’s thrown the 11th-most innings in MLB, and there’s certainly value in that.

Santana doesn’t have the peripherals of Garza and Ubaldo, as reflected in his career 105 FIP- (5% below average) and 100 xFIP- (average).

NoMaas view: He’s a decent pitcher, and you could make the case that he’s slightly-above average, depending on how much weight you put into his 2013 performance and if you think it’s repeatable. But, he doesn’t have the track record of Garza and Ubaldo, so he’s the least attractive of three. Fangraphs crowdsourcing predicts a 3 year / $40 million deal ($13.3 million AAV), and for similar money, we’d rather go with a more sure thing in Garza or higher-upside with Ubaldo (who might actually get a lower AAV than Santana anyway). Not interested.

With each of these three pitchers, you can point to flaws that make them not ideal. However, since the Yankees have been horrendous with player development, they are now solely dependent on the free agent market, where not only are they subject to inflated market prices, but they are also subject to a limited pool of only 30+ year-old talent.