Mariners waive Garko in favor of Mike Sweeney

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sweeney-mike-100330.jpgThe Seattle Mariners might not win the AL West this season, but they will have the best damn chemistry in the history of baseball, even with Milton Bradley patrolling the clubhouse looking for signs of disrespect.

As Jon Paul Morosi of Fox reports, the Mariners have waived first baseman Ryan Garko, opting instead to keep Mike Sweeney as the terrific guy/Bradley babysitter/Griffey practical joke partner/1B/DH platoon man.

Garko is a 29-year-old right-hander who historically crushes left-handers, seemingly making him a solid platoon partner with Casey Kotchman at first base. So it seems puzzling that the M’s would waive him to instead keep a 36-year-old guy with a history of injuries, no matter how likable he is.

But Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times makes a pretty good case for the move.

Garko apparently was terrible in the field this spring, to the point where Kotchman was playing first base even against lefties. Plus, Sweeney appears to have found the Hot Tub Time Machine and teleported back to, oh about 2000, smashing everything within reach and making him a better candidate to share DH duties with Griffey.

Since Sweeney wasn’t on the 40-man roster, they needed Garko’s spot, thus the decision to waive him instead of sending him to the minors.

Either way, it probably won’t make much difference for the Mariners. They’re still going to struggle scoring runs no matter which of their middling 1B/DH candidates they throw out there. So I guess they decided to go with veteran chemistry, which Sweeney can still provide even after his back goes out in mid-May.

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Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.