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.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that Brad Lidge has and inflamed elbow, which required a
cortisone injection yesterday. Lidge has been slow getting going this spring due to recovery from elbow surgery, but he had been expected to make Opening Day. Now that’s off the table and it will be the second week of the season before he’ll see action. At the earliest.
Given his performance last year it’s hard to say if having Lidge out longer than expected is a good thing or a bad thing for the Phillies . . .
The 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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