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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Giants Add Ryan Garko, But Not Finished

The Giants made a move in attempt to jump-start their waning offense on Monday, adding first basemen/outfielder, Ryan Garko from the Cleveland Indians. They sent to the Indians one of their better young pitching prospects in left-hander Scott Barnes, and they may not be done quite yet as the trade deadline looms just 3 days away.

Right off the bat, I have to say, this move reminded me eerily of the one that landed the Giants Shea Hillenbrand back in the 2006 season, as has been pointed out by a couple of media members already. Garko is a solid hitting first basemen, though not great, and not necessarily a middle-of-the-order type of guy, much like Hillebrand was when the Giants dealt for him. However, that's about where the comparisons stop if you ask me. Garko seems like a much better teammate and is getting better, whereas Hillenbrand was a cancer who's career was spiraling downward. Not to mention, Garko is under team control for another 3 years, and should be a main cog on the Giants roster for a while. This year, in 239 at-bats in Cleveland, he hit .285 with 11 home runs and 39 RBI to go along with a respectable .825 OPS. Although he's only been in the league 3.5 years, he's proven himself as a run producer, as he's driven in 235 runs in his 408 ballgames. He hasn't hit for quite as much power as the Indians were hoping he would, but he did tally 35 home runs spread over the 2007-08 season without playing full-time, and his 11 jacks in just 235 at-bats this year proves that his power is still developing.

I can't really find much to dislike about this move here. He'll probably take over first-base on a regular basis, although Travis Ishikawa will still get some time vs. tough righties and as a defensive replacement late in ballgames. He's not going to cost the Giants big money at all anytime soon (he'll be eligible for arbitration this winter, but probably won't bring in anymore than $3-4 million a year). Is he a game changing, big-time power bat? No, but he's another solid, .280+ hitter who can drive the ball out of the park (or as Sabean refers to, a guy who can hit the 3-run homer) and can hit with runners in scoring position. I'd look for him to bat fifth after Sandoval and Molina when he makes his Giants debut hopefully Tuesday night. Like everyone who changes leagues, there will be some sort of transition and learning for Garko in the new league, but he seems like a good enough hitter to start contributing right away.

While Garko was a nice add, he certainly isn't the guy who's going to push the team over the top, and Brian Sabean may not be done making trades before July 31st. The Giants are still said to be very interested in Pittsburgh's second basemen Freddy Sanchez, as that position has been a black hole for the Giants all year long. The Giants only had to part with one guy, albeit a solid pitching prospect, in order to land Garko, so there still is some resources available on the farm that could be used for another bat like Sanchez. Since Garko is a first basemen/corner outfielder, it doesn't seem like Giants will be looking to add another corner guy, but you never know. Another second basemen who could be available to them, and a guy we've mentioned here while back is Brian Roberts. He was a guy who'd be on the trade block every summer there for a while in Baltimore, but apparently that's no longer the case. Brandon Phillips is another one who would be a perfect fit here in San Francisco, but he's the type of talent that would probably require one of the top prospects in return. Anyway, I'll be on the edge of my seat to see what Sabean comes up with between now and Friday, because I really don't think he's done.

Notes: The Giants sent left-handed starting pitcher Scott Barnes to Cleveland in the deal. Barnes, a 21 year-old lefty, was one of the Giants top-20 prospects and one of their brighter arms from the lower minors. After Bumgarner and Alderson, there were many that felt Barnes was number 3 in the organization coming into the year. He was 12-3 with a 2.88 era and 99 k's in his time with A San Jose this year... Also, I'm going to be on vacation in Southern California until Monday. I will probably put up a small post between now and then, and definitely something if the Giants make another move, but the Giants Baseball Blog will not be updated as frequently until Monday, August 2nd.
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 12:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    0-4 debut by garko.

  • At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Giants Fanatic said…

    Something tells me Sanchez will be a Giant before Friday. I'm getting a strong Noonan/Sosa to Pittsburgh for Sanchez vibe. I don't like it, but it doesn't really matter what I think.

  • At 11:40 PM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    You were pretty darn close there Fanatic, but even worse, they had to give up Alderson, their #2 pitching prospect, for Sanchez. I can't say I'm too ecstatic about this move right off the bat. Sanchez has some health issues as well... I will have much more on this deal in tomorrows post, so check for that!!


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