Ryan Garko spent 2007-2009 as a starting first baseman for the Indians and Giants, but played most of this season at Triple-A after being claimed off waivers by the Rangers.
And now he’s headed to Korea.
Apparently unable to land a major-league deal as even a part-time player, Garko has signed with the Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization. According to the Korea Herald he’ll make a base salary of $250,000 and also gets a $50,000 signing bonus, so Garko will make about 75 percent of the MLB minimum.
Garko is a 29-year-old career .274/.347/.434 hitter who has always fared well against left-handed pitching, but when you’re a defensively challenged first baseman without a ton of power the jobs dry up in a hurry.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.