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.

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.