Monday, July 27, 2009

Gonnie Garko

The week of the Trading Deadline has arrived in full force on the North Coast as Ryan Garko follows Rafael Betancourt off the Indians’ roster, traded to the San Francisco Giants for 21-year-old LHP Scott Barnes. In a move that was not unexpected given the Indians’ depth at 1B/DH and Garko’s arbitration eligibility at the end of the season, the Indians make a move again to clear the path for players that figure into their 2010 season and beyond.

While Garko is on one of his patented hot streaks that brings his overall season numbers to the median (his line over the last 6 games - .429 BA / .500 OBP / .810 SLG / 1.310 OPS – raised his OPS 41 points in 24 plate appearances having already compiled 249 previous to the 6-game stretch), the Indians decided “sell high” on him to a team in need of offense and an organization overflowing with arms, netting a 21-year-old LHP in Barnes, who was the 8th round pick of the Giants in 2008 that has posted a line of 12-3, 2.85 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 99 K, 29 BB in 98 IP over 18 starts this season. Obviously, a player like Barnes is a long way from contributing at the ML level, but with the selection of Jess Todd as the PTBNL in the DeRosa deal (which comes as a nice relief, if you’ll remember here and here, that they decided not to wait to get him into the organization), the Indians continue to stockpile young, power arms using non-essential players on the roster (and those not thought to be part of the 2010 season) to net them.

In terms of Garko’s tenure coming to an end with the team, the move shouldn’t come as any kind of surprise as the news that Matt LaPorta was fine-tuning his 1B skills in AAA and Victor Martinez’s continued presence at 1B (plus Andy Marte’s recent re-emergence as a prospect) put the writing on the wall for where Garko stood in the organizational pecking order. In addition, the fact that Garko is scheduled to hit arbitration at the end of the season, with the likely price tag coming in the $3M range for 2010.

In the end, Garko is what he is – a high-OBP, a mid-range SLG 1B who struggles defensively through no lack of effort on his part – and his inclusion on the roster was simply that of a placeholder until the Indians’ young 1B worked their way through the system. As an Indian, he was neither flashy nor overly disappointing, just a complementary MLB player on a team in need of more than that from the 1B position. Moving him to San Francisco returns the Stanford grad to Northern California to thrive in the weak NL West while remaining under club control through 2012, albeit at salary arbitration numbers.

And that’s where the whole Garko thing makes the most sense, when you remove the RBI nonsense and the fact that The Atomic Wedgie inexplicably put him in the OF as he attempted to learn a brand-new position at the age of 27 in MLB – very simply, the relation between his productivity and his affordability went out of the Indians’ favor after this season. If the Indians can conceivably receive comparable production from younger player right now in place of Garko (be it LaPorta or Marte when Victor is not manning the tools of ignorance), with the idea that the player providing that “comparable production right now” could develop into something more substantial than Garko, the rationale behind getting something (notably an arm) for Garko stands up.

News that Andy Marte will be recalled to take Garko’s spot on the roster means that Marte will essentially be given time at 1B to re-assert himself in MLB, as he has done at AAA, and likely moves LaPorta into some sort of LF/1B amalgamation when (or is it now officially “if”) he finally gets the call topside. Until that happens, Show Pack may find himself in the lineup more frequently as the Indians need to find out how much of a role the regular playing time that he was given last year contributed to his second-half success last year.

The moves toward 2010 are on in full force with the Indians having netted two MLB-ready bullpen arms in Perez and Todd (with the idea that each can be in the Tribe bullpen this year) for DeRosa, and two high-A power arms in Connor Graham and Scott Barnes for Rafael Betancourt and Ryan Garko.

And it’s only Monday…

7 comments:

Hyde said...

Not really upset about trading Garko, but not thrilled about getting a California Leaguer in exchange. The attrition rate for A-ball pitching prospects is frightful. Barnes may have great upside, but I'd also wager he has a 50/50 chance of never making the major leagues.

k said...

Good move for the Tribe. Garko is a tad under-rated but essentially a part of a logjam of 1B/DH types. This opens the door for LaPorta and for another look at Marte.
Garko moves to a NL team and becomes a middle of the order guy. There's always a risk dipping that low in to the minors, but Barnes appears to be high ceiling potential.

A.G.B said...

"Gonnie Garko" - What a dynamite headline.

Cade said...

Any chance this guy played in the California Penal League?

KonstrucktaTribe said...

"How'd you end up there?"

"Stole a car."

Les Savy Ferd said...

Scott Barnes as Charlie Sheen as 'Wild Thing.'

POJO_Risin said...

Ahhh, good ole Andy Marte. You really have to laugh. This kid has disappeared, disappeared some more, reappeared, re-disappeared, re-re-disappeared...

and somehow has found his way not only back with the Tribe, but helping push out Garko...and strange as it seems, has some sort of strange Brandon Phillips-esque support from the Tribe faithful...your truly included.

Obviously, Marte becoming the player he was thought to be four years ago adds a whole boatload of options for the Indians in the future, including potentially dumping Jhonny Peralta in a future deal. Of course, we aren't quite there yet, are we.

Good by Garko. You were likely better than given credit, but didn't figure into the future of the club. We got a nice arm in return...so good riddance. The DeRosa deal was likely highway robbery for a one-year rent-a-player, Bettancourt was gone anyways, and Garko is a wasted piece. The roster has been freed up for next year, and the stockpiling has begun.

Of course...more "build for the future."

rumored Lee blockbusters in the making...we shall see. I wouldn't mind the package the Phillies turned down...wouldn't mind it at all. Hell...I'd be happy with Drabek straight up...

Another nice piece Paul...