Mariners Waive Ryan Garko, Will Keep Sweeney

7:19pm: Mike Sweeney has made the Mariners' Opening Day roster, writes Morosi.  The 36-year-old was set to retire if he didn't make a team's Opening Day squad.  Sweeney will be in a designated hitter platoon with Ken Griffey Jr.

Meanwhile, a source tells Morosi that the Rangers' current interest level in Garko isn't high.

5:10pm: The Mariners have put Ryan Garko on waivers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  Seattle signed the first baseman to a one-year, $550K deal roughly two months ago.  The 29-year-old still has options remaining.

Morosi points out that the Rangers are in search of a right-handed bat, though he is unsure if they are interested in Garko.  Texas is in search of a backup corner infielder and although manager Ron Washington seems willing to give middle infielder Andres Blanco a chance at third, it is unlikely that Garko is up to the task.  Before he landed with the M's, the Rangers were said to be interested in Garko's services.

In 40 games (127 plate appearances) for the Giants last season, Garko hit .235/.307/.330 with 2 HRs.

47 Responses to Mariners Waive Ryan Garko, Will Keep Sweeney Leave a Reply

  1. Ian_Smell 5 years ago

    How are the Jack Zduriencik jock sniffers going to spin this?

    • dwarfcatt 5 years ago

      Z strikes again! Talk about a low risk move. Now if Garko completely tanks, it won’t hurt the Mariners one bit. Plus, if you focus solely on the Garko signing, the production of whoever replaces him will come virtually free. This is classic Z motivational tactics, Ichiro will know he better shape up and play hard, otherwise he might get Z’d up just like Garko.

    • This is a stupid move but choosing Sweeney over Garko was Wak’s decision. Garko didn’t have the proper “belief system” I guess.

    • crunchy1 5 years ago

      Great decision by Jack Z…another work of staggering genius! It was a great move when he picked him up and even a greater move when he released him. It reminds me when I tried to get my flat screen TV on the cheap and had to return it a couple of days later.

  2. bbxxj 5 years ago

    I guess they must be really confident in Kotchman to go ahead and let Garko go. They really need Kotchman to be a near 20HR rather than the barely above 10HR guy he has been if they play him at 1B all year and bat him #3.

  3. nelson_c 5 years ago

    Apparently he was costing the team too much in BP balls hit over the fence for Z’s tastes

  4. mw3 5 years ago

    I’d rather have Sweeney, Kotchman and Byrnes getting Garko’s at bats anyway.

    • Versus righties maybe but Garko kills lefties and they just lost a very valuable piece of the puzzle.

  5. maudlow 5 years ago

    This is related to Sweeney and his hot Spring. He’s been hitting over .500 most of spring and driving the ball. The M’s weren’t that impressed with Garko’s defense and his lack of flexibility in the field….not that Sweeney has that, but at least he’s been hitting.

  6. That’s a bold statement.

  7. Guest 5 years ago

    If any team makes sense to claim him it’s the Rangers, who have been searching for corner infield help.

    • Will_Clarks_Gauchos 5 years ago

      Remember when two posts ago Millar wasn’t a ‘good fit’ in Texas because they were looking for middle infield help?

  8. As a Giants fan, this makes me feel vaguely vindicated. But I guess Z. is really serious about this pitching and defense business, and doesn’t have room for a so-so clankmitt like Garko.

  9. universalguru 5 years ago

    I don’t get why they’d waive Garko when he had options left. I know they have a surplus of 1B/DH at AAA but none of them are particularly good. Garko has more potential than Brad Nelson or Mike Carp (even on a one year deal). Kind of lame, but whatever.

  10. Shoeless_Joe 5 years ago

    Bad Move by Jeff Z. A Kotchman/Garko Platoon is much better then…..just Kotchman!

  11. grant77 5 years ago

    The middle of the Mariners lineup is sure going to be ugly, one of the worst ever.

  12. EdinsonPickle 5 years ago

    This is an interesting move. I thought when he was originally signed that was going to pretty useful, since he provides decent power and is right handed whereas Kotchman is a lefty. With Garko out of the picture the M’s really have little to no power. Griffey may hit 15-20 HRs and Kotchman if he has a good year may hit the same. All I can say is that I hope the M’s will be able to manufacture some runs.

  13. alxn 5 years ago

    Kotchman still makes absolutely no sense for this team. Now he is going to get even more at bats.

    • No sense eh? Left handed, puts the ball in play and AMAZING fielder. Hmmm… Exactly what the Mariners want. Yeah no sense at all.

      • alxn 5 years ago

        Just because it is what they want doesn’t mean it makes sense. An amazing fielder at 1st is overkill when they already have great defense everywhere else. Especially on a team that badly needs offense (more than hoping for a BABIP hot streak for someone who “puts the ball in play”). Just my opinion.

  14. NotWerthTheRiske 5 years ago

    yea, do not like this move at all….given garko can also catch in a pinch…

  15. mw3 5 years ago

    Griffey will not get the at bats that most pre-suppose. On the road especially Wak will give Sweeney, Bradley and Byrnes the DH at bats. Even against right handed pitching. Griffey was signed to be a pinch hitter and occasional DH, and almost all of those occasions will come at home against RH pitching.

  16. Garko must have gotten a guarantee when he signed that he would be released if he didn’t make the team. I can’t imagine a team voluntarily making themselves worse.

    I hate this move and I don’t understand what Wak and Z are doing. I know, let’s release Yusmeiro Petit again. Wait, no, let’s re-sign him again. I don’t think there’s a plan at all. Either that or Jack Z is building a plan and Wak is trying to destroy it. Sweeney better keep hitting .500 in the regular season because obviously all they care about is Spring Training stats.

  17. stevemotivateir 5 years ago

    Garko didn’t show that he wanted it, Sweeney did. Would have been foolish to ignore what Sweeney was doing. Kotchman isn’t going to need a lot of days off and I have no doubt Sweeney can fill in at 1st on occasion, so I don’t want to hear the lack of defense argument. Sweeney gives the team the power everyone seems to think the team lacks as well, so I like this move a lot.

    • bjsguess 5 years ago


      “Sweeney gives the team the power everyone seems to think the team lacks …”

      Here’s a trivia question for you – name the last year Sweeney hit HR’s in the double digits? It was also the last time that Sweeney was healthy enough to play more than 74 games. Answer – 2005.

      Sweeney offers you significantly below average defense, an incredible likelihood of being injured, and when he plays you can’t count on even league average offense.

      Griffey is a cipher with the bat. Bradley can be above average (was slightly below average in 09) but you never know what you will get with him. Kotchman is no prospect any more. Over the past year and a half he has had 600 PA’s and 9 HR’s with an OPS around 700. He’s great with the glove but offers nothing offensively.

      The M’s really should have brought back Branyan. Kotchman’s glove will save some runs but his bat will take them away. This entire offense is so bad. If Figgins gets hurt the M’s won’t be able to score runs period. Don’t worry about that though. Figgins only missed about 40 games in 07 and again in 08.

      • Sweeney could maybe hit 15 homers if he got 500 ABs. But he’ll get like 200 ABs for this team (if he stays healthy). So maybe 7 homers.

        He’s had a grand total of 22 starts at first base in the past 4 years. 4 years! He didn’t even play at first at any time during Spring Training. How can he be the solution as a backup? For a team that loves defense, this move makes no sense. Garko may be bad at first but Sweeney is practically unusable.

        Unfortunately, if Branyan had signed with us (we did offer him a contract early on) we would still be trouble because Branyan hasn’t played all Spring and will start the year on the DL because of his bad back. I didn’t want to believe it but they may have been right about that herniated disc.

      • crunchy1 5 years ago

        I wonder if this has anything to do with Milton Bradley. Bradley’s already had some problems this spring (of course, none of it was his fault — just ask him or Wakamatsu, who seems to be something of an enabler) and he’s specifically mentioned Griffey, Jr and Sweeney as two guys he likes as teammates. I wonder if they thought that keeping Sweeney as a highly paid babysitter was more important than a solid righty bat bench and possible platoon partner for Kotchman.

      • stevemotivateir 5 years ago

        First, Sweeney is in a back-up role. Second, it’s not fair to say he wasn’t healthy enough to play in more than 74 games because he is was in a back-up role last year and wouldn’t have played that many anyways. And he only missed 11 games last year with the back issues. Branyan missed more.
        If you want trivia, do you know who was 2nd in the league in hitting last year from August til the end, with more than 100 at-bats? It was Sweeney. He’s healthy now, that’s what matters for this season. Consider that he’s not going to be an everyday starter, makes him a solid choice for a back-up. His defense isn’t great, but look what Garko did in the spring! I’d take Sweeney’s glove over his, and I’d take his bat over Garko, Kotchman, and Bradley.
        You said the Mariners should have resigned Branyan. He was asking for a 2-3 year deal in the 20-30mil range. When he found out nobody would pay that, he settled for about the same Kotchman signed for after the trade. Seattle would have taken Branyan back if the numbers were right. But do you still think that they should have signed him now? If you haven’t read the news lately, Branyan has a herniated disc in his back again and is starting the season on the DL. Yeah, dumb move on Seattle’s part.

  18. mw3 5 years ago

    Ever since Lee got hurt it sure has become commonplace to see criticism of Z and the rest of the organization. It’s just about time for the players to produce or not and everyone else to zip it.

  19. CrustyJuggler 5 years ago

    This happened because Garko has looked horrible defensively at 1B all spring. And you know how Jack feels about defense.

    It didn’t help Garko’s case either that he didn’t hit well either while Sweeney was tearing the cover off the ball. Still, the Mariners are in a world of hurt offensively going into the season.

  20. Yankees10 5 years ago

    Wow Garko couldnt even beat out Mike Sweeney. Thats pretty bad.

  21. bbxxj 5 years ago

    Is it just me or are the M’s the team that need Adrian Gonzalez the most? I don’t think there would be any team transformed as much as the M’s by replacing current 1B and #3or#4 hitter with Gonzalez.

    Now if the M’s could get Gonzalez without giving up Ackley is a different story.

  22. formerdraftpick 5 years ago

    Garko would be a nice fit in Pittsburgh. Move him back to a catcher too.

    • YaGottaBelieve11 5 years ago

      you dont like doumit? i’d sure love to see him in a mets uni

      • formerdraftpick 5 years ago

        I do like Doumit. But, when the Pirates offered him straight up for Hardy, it is a given that he is on the trading block. If the Pirates did go after Garko, they would have a local guy who was born in Pittsburgh that could back up Doumit behind the plate and Clement at first. It would also be a possiblity to play him in the corner outfield positions from time to time. So I was thinking of him more as a versitile bench player (similair to what they want with Walker, but already established) who can bat in the cleanup slot. Also, I think you are right, Doumit would have been a nice fit for the Mets as opposed to their recent signings, but then again, I also think the Mets should have went after Olivio when he was a free agent.

  23. bigpat 5 years ago

    I guess we’ll finally get to see if a team built on great defense, two good starters and a pitiful offense will win the division. Can their defense really lift mediocre pitchers like Snell, Rowland-Smith, and Fister into high quality starters?

  24. gotcha2 5 years ago

    The only reason that Garko was waived instead of optioned down is his spot on the 40 man roster. The M’s need a spot on the roster for Sweeney and really out of all the options the M’s had, Garko really does make the most sense.

  25. nelso139 5 years ago

    I like this because Sweeney could potentially a good hitter this season, he is also good in the club house. I would imagine that they are planning on getting a big name at the trade deadline… someone with power that they can stick right in the middle of that lineup… boston may want Adrian Gonzalez ..but Seattle NEEDS HIM!

    • bjsguess 5 years ago

      The problem is that Sweeney hasn’t been a really good hitter since 2005. He hasn’t played a full season since 2001. If you are basing your expectations off Sweeney’s time with the Royals or his Spring Training in ’10 then you will be really disappointed when the season rolls around.

  26. crashcameron 5 years ago

    isn’t he from Pittsburgh?
    supposed to be a good clubhouse character/spirit guy, too
    so maybe he’s a fit there

    Gonzalez – if it takes Ackley, do it

  27. YaGottaBelieve11 5 years ago

    i would love to see garko get claimed by the Mets. platoon his .313/.392/.495 against lefties with murphy’s .282/.340/.436 line against righties and thats pretty decent production from first base

  28. sickdizzle 5 years ago

    agree with the mets least because hell probably end up going on minor league deal this late in camp anyway, which would work well and add some ML depth. where is ackley playing right now in minors? is he a 1b or OF, and how has he been doing? havent seen anything about him since the draft

  29. bjsguess 5 years ago

    This is fun because it’s so recent. Looking back less than 2 months ago we had the original signing. The comments can be broken down into two categories:

    Jack Z Is A Genius

    — “good deal for the M’s”
    — “My oh my!! Jack Z has done it again!”
    — “What a great deal…only half a mil up front this GM is incredible”
    — “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.”
    — “Another great move for the Mariners. They pretty much got the hitter they wanted for less than a mil.”
    — “Byrnes + Garko = Great compliments to the roster they have put together thus far. The AL West race is going to be fun to follow”
    — “I love Z’s idea of creating as much competition as possible to really boost people to what they can do.”
    — “Another low risk/medium reward type of signing by the M’s.”

    Stockpiling for trade deadline moves

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

    For the record (and of course I am not always right) here is what I wrote way back when … “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.”

    The whole thread is a good read. Funny how things change in 2 months – especially when Garko wasn’t injured and didn’t perform awfully.

    link to

  30. crunchy1 5 years ago

    Always fun to look back and read stuff like that. I’ve had a few comments myself that I hope remain buried on this site forever!

  31. swishasnkush 5 years ago

    it had to be done, Garko isnt hitting & Sweeney is. some people might not like the move but owell…it was a tough decision IMO.

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