Giants non-tender midseason pickup Ryan Garko

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San Francisco acquired Ryan Garko from Cleveland at midseason in an effort to boost one of the league’s worst lineups, but Garko hit just .235/.307/.330 in 40 games and tonight the Giants non-tendered him rather than pay what likely would have been around $2 million via arbitration.
Garko is mediocre against right-handers and crushes left-handers, so he’s a better fit as a platoon player than an everyday starter, but he certainly could have done a passable job for the Giants in 2010 at a modest salary. Based on his .313/.392/.495 career line against lefties alone he’ll have no trouble finding regular work and by letting him go the Giants essentially get zero value out of Scott Barnes, the solid mid-level pitching prospect traded to the Indians.
Pablo Sandoval’s ability to play either first base or third base gives the Giants some flexibility when it comes to bringing in another veteran bat, with Chris Haft of reporting that they’re interested in Mark DeRosa, Nick Johnson, and Adam LaRoche. All three figure to be more expensive than Garko, perhaps by quite a bit, and only Johnson is likely to be significantly better at the plate.

MVP or not, Mike Trout’s place in history is secure

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Mike Trout may not win another MVP award, because Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays had a great season and voters seem to be leaning his way, but the Angels center fielder just completed his fourth MVP-caliber campaign in four full seasons as a major leaguer.

Trout has now either won the MVP or (presumably) finished runner-up at age 20, age 21, age 22, and age 23. And there were certainly cases to be made that he was deserving of all four MVP awards. It’s been an incredible start to a career. But how incredible?

Here are the all-time leaders in Wins Above Replacement through age 23:

37.6 – Mike Trout
36.0 – Ty Cobb
34.2 – Ted Williams
31.4 – Mel Ott
30.1 – Ken Griffey Jr.
29.7 – Mickey Mantle
27.7 – Alex Rodriguez
27.5 – Al Kaline
26.7 – Arky Vaughan
26.5 – Rogers Hornsby

I mean, just look at the 10 names on that list. Ridiculous, and Trout sits atop all of them.

Trout has been the subject of intense MVP-related debates in three of his four seasons, but regardless of which side of that coin you favor don’t let it obscure the fact that we’re witnessing something truly special here. There’s certainly room to quibble with the exact rankings–WAR is merely one prominent and easy way to do such things–but however you slice it Trout has been one of the best handful of players in the history of baseball through age 23.

Orioles say re-signing Chris Davis is “a top priority”

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Last week impending free agent Chris Davis expressed frustration that the Orioles had not approached him about a contract extension during the season, pointing out that the team had previously locked up other players like J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones mid-season.

Now that the season is over and Davis had another monster year Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun that re-signing Davis is “a top priority” and added:

He’s had a great year and he’s been a great player for us, so obviously, we’d like to have him back. Whether we can do that in the market, that remains to be seen, but we’re going to try.

Davis is 29 years old, has some defensive versatility, and has led the league in homers in two of the past three seasons while posting an .891 OPS during that time. He’s going to get plenty of huge multi-year offers and based on some of Duquette’s other quotes within Encina’s article it sure sounds like the Orioles are preparing for life without him.