Mariners sign Garko to platoon with Kotchman

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Non-tendered by the Giants in December when he would have been in line for about $2 million via arbitration, Ryan Garko has signed a one-year deal with the Mariners worth $550,000 and another $525,000 in potential incentives.
Garko isn’t much of a defender and his bat is mediocre against right-handers, but he crushes left-handers and makes for a nice platoon partner for Casey Kotchman. Garko’s hit .313/.392/.495 versus lefties in his career compared to .277/.334/.378 for Kotchman, and he’s certainly decent enough versus righties to be a full-time option if needed.
By adding Garko (and fellow platoon bat Eric Byrnes) the Mariners seem quite a bit more likely to enter the season with only 11 pitchers, although the fact that an 11-man pitching now qualifies as “only” is very disturbing to me. There’s no real need for seven relievers anyway, so adding Garko to boost the lineup versus lefties makes plenty of sense and the price is certainly right. Another shrewd, low-cost pickup for Seattle.

Zack Greinke named the Dbacks’ Opening Day starter

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21:  Pitcher Zack Greinke #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks poses for a portrait during photo day at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 21, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Not a surprise, but a news item on a slow news day is a news item on a slow news day: Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has named Zack Greinke as the club’s Opening Day starter.

Greinke’s first season with the Diamondbacks is not exactly what the club hoped for when he signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal in December of 2015. He dealt with oblique and shoulder issues while struggling to a 4.37 ERA over 26 starts. Greinke hasn’t pitched yet this spring, but will make his spring debut on Friday. He and the club are obviously hoping for a quiet March and a strong beginning to the season.

Either for its own sake or to increase the trade value of a player who was acquired by the previous front office regime.

“La Vida Baseball,” celebrating Latino baseball, launches

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A new website has launched. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s all about celebrating the past, present and future of Latino baseball from a Latino perspective.

The site, produced in partnership with the Hall of Fame, has four general areas of focus:

  • Who’s Now: Focusing on current Latino players;
  • Who’s Next: Focusing on top prospects here, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America;
  • Our Life: Off-the-Field stuff, including player’s lives, lifestyles and hobbies; and
  • Our Legends: Focusing on Latino baseball history, Hall of Famers and overlooked players.

As the site has just launched there aren’t yet a ton of stories up there, but there is one about Roberto Clemente, another about Felix Hernandez and some other stuff.

The site is much-needed. Baseball reporters for American outlets are overwhelmingly white, non-Spanish speakers. Reporters, who, generally, gravitate to the players who are the most like they are. Which is understandable on some level. When you’re writing stories about people you need to be able to communicate with them and relate to them on more than a mere perfunctory level. As such, no matter how good the intentions of baseball media, we tend to see the clubhouse and the culture of baseball from a distinctly American perspective. And we tend to paint Latino players with a broad, broad brush.

La Vida Baseball will, hopefully, remedy all of that and will, hopefully, give us a fresh and insightful depiction Latino players and their culture.