Mariners Sign Ryan Garko

The Mariners officially signed Ryan Garko to a one-year, $550K deal today.  Garko can earn another $525K in plate appearance incentives.  Gregg Bell of the AP first reported the agreement.

Mariners assistant GM Jeff Kingston recently spoke about targeting a right-handed hitter who can crush left-handed pitching while playing at first base or DH.  Garko, 29, fits the bill given his .311/.391/.491 line against southpaws over the past three seasons.  Garko was non-tendered by the Giants after the season.  The Mariners can retain him for 2011 and 2012 as an arbitration-eligible player if they choose.

GM Jack Zduriencik's take on the signing:

"We are happy to add Ryan to our Major League roster.  We think he is a player that adds versatility as a right-handed hitter with experience playing first base, designated hitter and catcher."

55 Responses to Mariners Sign Ryan Garko Leave a Reply

  1. Guest 5 years ago

    good deal for the Ms

    • rootman1010 5 years ago

      agreed. should form an OK platoon with kotchman at first base

    • Guest 5 years ago

      My oh my!! Jack Z has done it again!

      • willardthegreat 5 years ago

        I’m as big an M’s fan as anyone here, but not every move Jack Z makes needs to be viewed as an “Oh my god!” move. This is a fine signing, sure. But come on. Garko? If Bavasi had made this signing you’d all be calling for his head again. All I’m saying is, Jack Z is a living legend already; I get it, we get it, they get it. But Garko to a 1-year deal is no Figgins or Lee…heck, it’s not even a Bradley. It’s good, but let’s temper those rally cries a little on the non-huge signings, eh?

        • seatownfighter 5 years ago

          i complately agree now everytime he signs somebody everybody says he is amazing it is starting to get me mad cuz like you said if bavasi signed eric byrnes people would be saying he is a complete idiot and destroying the organization but i have no problem with this signing but it doesnt make him the jesus of general managers

        • stovepipe 5 years ago

          I’m with you, willardthegreat. Love the M’s, and Jack Z is doing a fine job, but it’s hard for me to get excited about players we are picking up off the scrap heap, released by their previous teams. Quality players generally don’t get released (I know there have been exceptions)

  2. Vikinglifeguard 5 years ago

    Don’t mind that. I love Z’s idea of creating as much competition as possible to really boost people to what they can do.

  3. HoneyNutIchiro 5 years ago

    Another low risk/medium reward type of signing by the M’s.

    Hopefully the competition amongst all these veteran hitters will make them perform higher than expected.

    Maybe Garko or Kotchmann will get flipped at the deadline in a package for a stud 1B?

  4. gson 5 years ago

    There won’t be a flipping of either guy (Garko or Kotchman) as neither merits a return worthy of discussion. Jack Z has picked up a run producing RH 1B/DH in Garko. His defense is extraordinarily poor (he reverts to being a catcher.. blocking balls in the dirt at 1B instead of scooping them) and he can’t run, but, with ducks on the pond, he’ll do what’s needed to bring them home.. he’d be even better with a modicum of regular playing time…

    • Clearly, no one told Sabean that!

      The Cleveland Indians would be pretty happy with Scott Barnes, who may not be a top prospect, but isn’t chopped liver either! Z needs to stay in touch with his pals in SFO and NYM…

  5. TheFilibuster 5 years ago

    What a great deal…only half a mil up front this GM is incredible

  6. tjspring 5 years ago

    Nice deal. A decent little RH stick off the bench. Not Prince Fielder, but for 500k, who is??

    • R_y_a_n 5 years ago

      Well, Prince Fielder was Prince Fielder was only being paid 330k, 415k and 670k in his first 3 years in the bigs :)

  7. crunchy1 5 years ago

    I like this deal for the Ms for a couple of reasons 1) while he’s not a stalwart defensively, Garko’s better thant the other RH options mentioned and 2) he provides more insurance at DH for an aging Griffey and mercurial, injury prone Milton Bradley. I’ve mentioned in another post that I like how the Mariners are acquiring a lot of DH and/or OF type bats in Byrnes and Garko to go along with Griffey and Bradley. They’ve set themselves up where they aren’t guaranteeing Bradley anything. If he gets hurt they’ve got people ready to step in and if he causes any problems, it makes it much easier to cut ties. Surely, Bradley must notice that there’s a lot of people ready to take his ABs if his attitude becomes an issue.

  8. rootman1010 5 years ago

    so the bench will have:

    C- Bard OR Johnson OR Alfonzo (with Moore starting)

    1B- Garko

    IF- Hannahan

    OF- Byrnes

    will that be it for the bench or do you think they will carry another player like Langerhans, Patterson, Woodward, Saunders, etc.?

    • jcrabtree7 5 years ago

      I think Josh Wilson will also make the team simply as being a better option at 2nd and Short than Hannahan

    • tjspring 5 years ago

      I think the Byrnes deal (if he shows up healthy and 80% of his old self) pretty much guarantees that Saunders will start in AAA. He needs to get ABs

    • CRod_23 5 years ago

      They will add another OF and use 11 pitchers.

  9. bjsguess 5 years ago

    Guess I’m not seeing the hype. This is a guy who was released from a team that couldn’t manage to score any runs last year. Then he sat available for anyone to grab him. Unless Jack Z sees something that NOBODY else does, this is just another meh signing.

    Certainly doesn’t hurt the team but all this man love on Jack Z is just ridiculous.

    • redsfandan 5 years ago

      I agree that the love for Zduriencik has been a little over the top but it’s hard to dispute the job he’s done so far. As has been pointed out, the Garko signing has the possibility of medium reward with a very low risk. Those moves with the fringes of the roster can be underrated.

    • crunchy1 5 years ago

      Agreed…I like what he’s done but when every move is deemed as genius it gets to be too much. I will say the AL West will be the most interesting division to watch this year. Any one of the four teams has a legitimate shot at winning it.

  10. Guest 5 years ago

    Wow, nice job getting on this Minaya, instead you signed Tatis. Buh.

  11. Alldaybaseball 5 years ago

    I am freaked out by Z, he turned that piece of terd of a team into a playoff team. Garko for half a million? I thought he was going to get more like 2 million.

  12. tribegrl85 5 years ago

    Being a huge Cleveland Indians fan, I’ll tell you there is no way Garko will every play 3rd. He is strictly DH/1B, and hasn’t even played Catcher since the minors.

  13. toprock 5 years ago


    So tell me how it is that you sitting behind a computer at home or work, has more baseball knowledge then Jak Z? this guys has been around baseball his whole life, and has proven himself on all levels. Yet you seem to judge him as if your a baseball god. Dude lighten up. P.S hope your not at work with the length of your posts that could get you fired.

  14. I honestly feel after watching Garko play 1B the past few years day in and day out here in Cleveland, he gets a VERY bad rap for his defense. He’s never going to win a gold glove, but he keeps the ball infront of him, makes the routine plays, scoops the ball out of the dirt pretty well, he’s an average first baseman who was a VERY below average 1B when they moved him. He’s made improvements, and probably will continue to over time.

    The Tribe tried him in the outfield in 2009, it was ugly. Very ugly. He looks like Fred Flinstone, and he runs like him too. His feet keep flying but he goes no where. He actually cost Cliff Lee a win up in Detroit because he couldn’t get to ball in RF.

    And the 2010 Mariners are looking like Wahoo’s West.

    • rodney654 5 years ago

      Dont know if they’ll carry 11 or 12 pitchers but the lineup vs lefties is now pretty solid:

      RF Ichiro
      3B Figgins
      DH Bradley
      2B Lopez
      CF Gutierrez
      1B Garko
      LF Byrnes
      C Moore
      SS Wilson

    • BaseballFan0707 5 years ago

      Ryan Garko is the definition of a league average player.

      And, to be honest, he is ignored far too much. Unless Huff can hold up for 120+ games at 1B and produce, the Giants are going to be kicking themselves in the ass.

  15. rockiesfan_303 5 years ago

    Byrnes + Garko = Great compliments to the roster they have put together thus far. The AL West race is going to be fun to follow

  16. nelso139 5 years ago

    Does anyone else here think what I’m thinking..? That Jack Z is stocking up on cheap usable talent so he can make a big trade come the trade deadline? Possibly for a franchise player like Adrian Gonzalez?

  17. Bravoboy10 5 years ago

    Numbers for a Kotchman (375) Garko (275) platoon at first over 650 ab’s based on averages.

    .290/.360/.445/.805 21HR 77RBI. Not what I’d call mashing but it’s respectable plus your getting solid defense

    • Good point. That’s some good OBP to go with an already OBP-heavy lineup.

      One note on the defense: Kotchman is fabulous defensively, but Garko is noticeably below average. But that’s not that big of a deal at first, honestly. First is the least important position after LF, as far as defense is concerned. Having a good defensive first baseman is kind of like having a really good pinch-hitter–it can be really helpful sometimes, and it might help win some games, but usually you won’t even notice. 😉

  18. melonis_rex 5 years ago

    550K for Garko while Huff got 3MM.

    Nice work Sabean.

  19. rockiesfan_303 5 years ago

    If your gonna have a 1B platoon, Garko and Kotchman aren’t a bad tandem. Really solidified the lineup vs. lefites with Garko and Byrnes

  20. CRod_23 5 years ago

    What I meant was they will go with 2 back-up outfielders (Saunders or Langherhans along with Byrnes), Garko as a back-up first basemen. Probably Hannahan as the back-up infielder and a back-up catcher.

  21. marinersarmy 5 years ago

    Dave Cameron as USSM says Bradley will hit #3 with Jose Lopez hitting #4…

  22. bustercherrie 5 years ago

    RosterbatorExtraordinaire… “Too many old players with an injury history”… Ichiro? He’s played less than 157 games in season once. Are you living in a parallel universe where Ichiro is no longer a beloved Mariner? I seriously hope your whole idiotic rant was one big joke, your just that bored or your smoking something. Yes, he’s on the wrong side of 30. The guy takes amazing care of his body. He’s still got juice in the tank, and I’ll bet you, that he will sign another multiple year contract with the M’s after this contract runs out. Yes, there are injury risks… one of the interesting parts about sports. Has every trade GMZ made been the best, no, but to compare him in any way shape or form to Bill Bavasi is remarkably stupid.

  23. Rosterbator:

    A Bavasi offseason would involve Z paying players with low WAR lots of dollars, and giving away far too much in trades. You are, I hope, speaking in hyperbole.

    Also, what makes you think that Z didn’t ask about Brignac and find the price to be too high? What urgency does TB have to move a premium player like him?

    Also also, we’ll probably go with 11 guys and keep Langerhans on the bench for OF depth.

    Also also also, Morrow will never be anything more than a back-end starter, if that. Guys like him (fireballers with no command) flame out all the time, especially considering how much Morrow got jerked around. I think, personally, that Morrow is and always has been massively overvalued by many Ms fans.

    Finally, who cares how old Figgins is? He’s probably going to bring in 3+ WAR. Griffey isn’t a key to success on this team. Ichiro, Lee, and Wilson either bring high WAR or premium defense to their positions, or both. Byrnes isn’t a key to success on this team. Hell, he might get axed before ST ends.

    I don’t think you have to love all of Z’s moves or anything, but I do take umbrage with your evaluation of Z’s moves. Especially the ones where you don’t think about the fact that Z probably inquired about Liriano and Brignac already and found the price too high, unlike Bavasi, who would have given away the farm.

    Oh, and Branyan for two years? Are you serious? Everyone is staying away from the guy because of his back issues. If you’re so worried about players over 30 producing this year, which is part of your argument, how are you on board for signing a guy in his mid-30s with chronic back problems for two years?

    No disrespect in any of my response to you meant, by the way.

  24. crunchy1 5 years ago

    I’ve gotta agree with Cameron on that one. The third spot seems like it’d be the best fit for Bradley.

  25. Figgins, Lopez, and Kotchman are not injury risks. Not even close. On the other hand, Byrnes and Bradley are definitely injury risks, and Griffey is not an option for the outfield. He will only be in the outfield if Bradley, Byrnes, Langerhans, Garko, and Figgins are all hurt. In that case, who cares who plays where, because the team is shot.

    One of the conditions of Figgins’ signing was that he would have a starting position that was his, that he would not be a utility guy. He will play OF only before Griffey. That leaves your outfield as Ichiro, Gutierrez, Bradley, and Byrnes. Bradley will primarily DH, because his bat is integral to this lineup and it is imperative that he stays healthy. That leaves Ichiro and Gutierrez as the only full-time outfielders on the team. Byrnes will be the starting LF if he lasts through spring training. But he can’t RHP and he’s injury-prone. That leaves Langerhans necessary as the 4th OF

    Hannahan and Garko are backup infielders. Beyond that, worrying about a game that involves multiple injuries to important players is just silly. If that was a legit concern, the roster would be larger than 25.

    And Saunders will be the full-time starter or in the minors. He won’t play backup.

    Read Dave Cameron’s posts on this issue over at ussmariner.

  26. You sir, think you know much, while in fact you know little.

    C- 39 y.o.
    1B- 30 y.o.
    2b- pass
    SS- 36 y.o.
    3B- 35 y.o.
    RF- pass
    CF- pass
    LF- pass
    DH- 32 y.o.

    OF- 36 y.o.
    C- pass
    IF- pass

    Hmm, looks like the Yankees are building for failure. Bavasi must be their GM. I mean, all it would take is Sabathia and/or Burnett to get hurt, and their season is down the tubes. Add to that fact that their lefty specialist is 35 and their closer is 40 (!!!). Oh my God. Cashman is an idiot. The Yankees are screwed.

    Honestly man, lay off the doobie.

  27. Agreed.

    The Morrow/League trade cannot be accurately evaluated until the Mariners’ rotation is set for the season. The reason Morrow was traded was because there was no longer a place on the team for him. It didn’t reflect his ability, but the fact that if he was going to stay on the team, he would have been moved back to the bullpen. He’d been moved back and forth and back and forth from starter to reliever so much that being moved back again would just stunt his development even more. His value was basically as high as it was going to be with the Mariners.

    League as a reliever is better than Morrow as a reliever. Johermyn Chavez was included to make up for the fact that Morrow *could* theoretically start. If you look at League’s splits, he is incredibly dominant on grass (makes sense, seeing as he’s an extreme groundball pitcher). His sinker was the best pitch in the majors last year (induced the most swings and misses).

  28. Wait, did you really say this? Did you really just say that Matt Wieters is to Gregg Zaun what you are to Jack Zduriencik?? So you would actually make a terrific baseball GM, but you just haven’t had the chance to show the world your incredible talent?

    Geez, I’d feel sorry for the team that got stuck with you. 😉

  29. Yeah, I guess you’d have a good point–if Ramirez had actually had a track record of success. And if Brandon League had actually had a history of underachieving. And if the Mariners had actually signed Jarrod Washburn. But wait–none of that is true. So I guess your point sucks.

    So you KNOW that they could have gotten more for Morrow than League and Chavez? And….that’s why they did?

  30. I never said you referred to Figgins, Lopez, or Kotchman as injury risks. I said that your reasoning implies that they might be (needing to have multiple IF backups because any one of them could go down at any time). Figgins isn’t an injury risk. He missed those games because of two broken fingers, a strained hammy, a sprained wrist, and a sore elbow from getting plunked by Pavano–hardly chronic ailments.

    Bradley, Byrnes, Langerhans, and Griffey occupy a complicated platoon across DH and LF. I’m not going to waste my time writing it out for you, since you can take all your loads of time and go to and read it for yourself.

    Saunders doesn’t make the roster unless he’s going nuts in spring training, in which case the LF situation is entirely re-evaluated (one of Langerhans or Byrnes gets demoted or cut and the other stays as 4th OF, Bradley becomes full-time DH, Griffey becomes LH bench bat).

    And Bradley does not cost them $16MM. He costs them $14.5MM ($9MM in salary, plus $5.5MM to the Cubs). And actually, he only costs them $3MM, because Silva’s salary was already a sunk cost ($14.5MM-$11.5MM = $3MM).

    If the bizarre occurs, and Wilson goes down at the same time as Figgins or Lopez, one gets put on the DL, and Tui, Jo. Wilson, or Woodward gets called up.

  31. willardthegreat 5 years ago

    I’m not sure Guti was every regularly in the 3-hole last year….he was in the 2 and 9 a lot before his injury………And how do you know what Wak likes? sheesh….

  32. tribegrl85 5 years ago

    No problem. He gets a lot of slack for his play. It’s not terrible. Wedge’s outfield experiment was a disaster. Stick him at 1B/DH. Good luck to your team though. At least you’ll be competitive

  33. If other teams were higher on Morrow, why weren’t the M’s offered more for him?

    He can’t throw 100 mph. He throws a fastball of about 95, and a slider of about 85. He also has a change and a curve, but neither is very effective (especially his curve), making him basically a man of two and a half pitches–not the formula for “effective starter”.

    Boston did NOT offer Buchholz straight up. They offered him with Casey Kelly. And Morrow /= Buchholz. Buchholz isn’t a lot better, but he’s better. I don’t feel like getting into a Buchholz vs. Morrow argument, because reality is so incredibly obvious. If you really need to figure it out, look them up on Hint: look at FIP, BB/9, K/9, LOB%, xFIP, and GB%. Just last year, Buchholz was worth almost as many wins to the Red Sox as Morrow has been worth for the last three years.

    Morrow will never be anything more than an ok 4th starter or a 5th starter, unless he dramatically improves one of his pitches and figures out how to not walk 6 batters per 9 innings. And it’s not so much the fact that he wasn’t good enough to be on the Mariners. It’s the fact that they didn’t have a place for him. Once again, we can’t truly evaluate this trade until they sign another starter. He will be the guy that replaces Morrow. Apparently they figure that that guy plus Chavez and League is worth more to them than Morrow. And he won’t need to be very good to justify the trade.

    Like I’ve said several times, look up League’s career stats on grass. He is average on turf, and he was playing in Toronto. He is an extreme groundball pitcher, the best kind of pitcher to be (other than a strikeout pitcher). Turf can really screw with groundballs. Now he’ll be playing on grass with the best defense in baseball.

    Any combination of League/Lowe/Aardsma for the 7th/8th/9th will be lethal. Especially when Felix and Lee are pitching.

  34. Yay, you tested well. Happy for you. Too bad you never learned how to spell, how to reason, and how to argue rationally. And ironic that you follow up your little “brag about my resume” speech with saying you don’t ever put your pride first. Nice one. 😉

    You have no statistical basis for any of your statements. Just opinions and hearsay. Your allegation that Zduriencik made moves based on pride has absolutely no factual basis. It is entirely your own opinion, driven by your own perception of reality.

    Undersold our talent?? So Gillies and Aumont were worth more than Cliff Lee? How many times do you have to be hit on the head to believe that?? And the best defensive shortstop in baseball, plus a decent 4th starter with 2nd starter “stuff” isn’t good enough of a return on a half-crippled, lousy defensive, can’t-hit-lefties 1B/DH that couldn’t catch any more??

    And you can read my other comment for the breakdown on Morrow vs. League. Yes, I agree that Jack got rid of Morrow in large part to get rid of Morrow. Ya know why, smart boy? Because Morrow didn’t fit into the team that he was building. That’s his prerogative as a GM. And that kind of prerogative is what has turned the M’s around from the first $100MM/100 loss team in MLB history to a projected nearly 90-win team next season. So obviously something is working. There’s a reason he’s considered one of the most brilliant GM’s in baseball after only one full season. I mean, hell, he got value in return for Silva.

  35. BaseballFan0707 5 years ago

    Well, the value has to prove that it won’t be a complete headcase and actually produce some better offensive numbers.But then again, even if you got a bag of balls back for Silva, that would be considered value in return.Agree with what you’re saying, btw. Jack Z was apparently with the Mets like, forever. Man, they were messing up before the internet was the in-thing!

  36. willardthegreat 5 years ago

    I’ll take you up on a Guti homer bet like that any day…To echo some of the others: Glad you’re not in charge.

  37. willardthegreat 5 years ago

    OK…since you claim to have these powers of observation and to be using fact, I figured would fully explain to you the difference between Fact and Fiction, using Guti here as a fine example. If you are basing you’re Guti-in-the-3-hole talk on observation, then you literally have no observational skills. Here’s a break down of where Guti hit iin the M’s order for last year:
    1 – 8
    2 – 56
    3 – 0 (that’s a big zero)
    4 – 0
    5 – 32
    6 – 10
    7 – 2
    8 – 19
    9 – 26

    So, you’re middle of the lineup thing? ZERO at bats in the 3 and 4 hole and almost all of his 5-hole at-bats came in one big streak during injuries and while he was hot. The rest of the time was No. 2 or No. 8 and 9.
    And again, you are crazy if you think he’s gonna pop 30 dingers in SAFECO (not Petco).
    Do yourself a favor and quit while we’re ahead…

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