Ryan Garko Rumors

Minor Moves: Garko, Golson, Haeger, Figaro

We’ll track today’s minor moves here…

  • The Rockies signed first baseman Ryan Garko and outfielder Greg Golson to minor league contracts, Baseball America's Matthew Eddy reports.  Garko saw regular time as the Indians' first baseman from 2006-09 but hasn't played in the majors since 2010, spending the 2011 season in Korea and last year with the Rays' Double-A affiliate.  Golson, picked 21st overall by Philadelphia in the 2004 draft, amassed 42 Major League plate appearances with the Phillies, Rangers and Yankees between 2008-2011 and hit .276/.309/.412 in 480 PA with the White Sox Triple-A affiliate in 2012.
  • Also from Eddy, the Red Sox re-signed knuckleballer Charlie Haeger to a new minor league deal.  Haeger last pitched in the majors in 2010 and has been in the Red Sox farm system since July 2011, though he missed all of last season with an arm injury.
  • The Brewers have signed right-hander Alfredo Figaro to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training, the team announced (via Mike Vassallo on Twitter). It took more than a month for the sides to complete the deal, since agent Barry Praver had to negotiate a departure from Figaro's Japanese team, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). The 28-year-old returns to MLB after spending the past two seasons pitching in Japan for the Orix Buffaloes. He picked up some MLB experience with the Tigers before going to Japan, appearing in 14 games from 2009-10.

MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post


Minor Moves: Johnson, Mahay, Thurston, Bates, Garko

Tonight's minor moves..

  • The Rockies signed former Cardinals left-hander Tyler Johnson to a minor league deal, according to the CBSSports.com transactions page.  Johnson, who won a ring with the Cards in 2006, has been out of affiliated baseball since 2009.
  • The Reds released left-hander Ron Mahay, according to the International League transactions page.  The 40-year-old signed a minor league deal with the club in January and appeared in 14 games for their Triple-A affiliate this season.  The veteran last pitched in the majors for the Twins in 2010 and was signed and released by the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Cardinals in 2011.
  • The Twins have released infielder Joe Thurston and first baseman Aaron Bates, according to Dustin Morse of the Twins (via Twitter).  Thurston, 32, hooked on with Minnesota in late April after being cut by the Phillies.  Once considered a top asset in the Dodgers' farm system, Thurston has yet to see significant time in the majors outside of his 124 game 2009 campaign with the Cardinals.
  • The Rays signed former major-leaguer Ryan Garko to a minor league deal, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter).  The first baseman spent time in Korea last year.
  • Orioles infielder Zelous Wheeler has cleared waivers and been assigned to Double-A Bowie.  Wheeler was DFA'd by Baltimore on Friday.

Ryan Garko To Play In Korea

Ryan Garko has signed to play in Korea, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (on Twitter). The six-year MLB veteran hit free agency two months ago after a disappointing 2010 season.

Garko, who turns 30 next month, struggled through 38 plate appearances with the Rangers before they cut him this May. In his last extended stint in the majors, the first baseman batted .268/.344/.421 in 400 plate appearances for the Indians and Giants in 2009.


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Minor League Transactions: Free Agents, Herges, Ramirez

Matt Eddy of Baseball America brings us minor league transactions for October 3rd to 9th, the first full week of the offseason for most clubs. Here are a few notes of interest from the latest series of minor league moves across the league:


How Will Angels Replace Morales?

4:28pm: The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham wonders (via Twitter) if Mike Lowell will be traded to the Angels in light of Morales' injury. He notes that the Red Sox would likely have to eat a large portion of Lowell's salary.

2:16pm: ESPN's Mark Saxon tweets that the Angels are saying Morales' injury is not season ending, though he doesn't provide a timetable for the slugger's return. As Saxon points out in another tweet, Mike Napoli will start at first base today for the first time since his minor league days.

10:57am: Following one of the more unusual injuries in recent years, the Angels now face the problem of how to replace their most productive hitter. Kendry Morales, who was hitting .290/.346/.487 with 11 homers, fractured his leg while celebrating a walk-off grand slam last night, and could miss the rest of the season.

Robb Quinlan and Mark Trumbo are in-house candidates to step in for Morales, but the defending AL West champs will likely consider acquiring an impact player to boost an offense that, even with Morales, has hit just .248. After all, despite playing sub-.500 ball so far, they're very much in contention, sitting only 3.5 games out of first place.

Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times writes that the Angels have plenty of options when it comes to finding a new first baseman. He suggests that Paul Konerko and Lance Berkman are the two most attractive and realistic trade targets for the Angels, though he acknowledges that the club won't have much leverage, given their desperate need for a middle-of-the-order bat. The Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales agrees that Konerko could be a fit for the Angels, noting that the White Sox first baseman has a relationship with Mike Scioscia that dates back to their days with the Dodgers.

DiGiovanna names a handful of other possible targets for the Angels, including Adam Dunn, Adam LaRoche, Russell Branyan, and Prince Fielder. Obviously, some of those sluggers are less available than others. Jermaine Dye, Ryan Garko, and Carlos Delgado (when he's healthy) are a few more available, low-cost options the team could look at, according to DiGiovanna.

Even if the Angels decide to make a move, it may not happen for a month or two, coming closer to the trade deadline. However, in the wake of Morales' injury, it's safe to put them near the top of the list of teams who will be shopping for a power hitter this summer.


Ryan Garko Clears Waivers

May 18th: Garko cleared waivers and will head to Triple A Oklahoma City, tweets MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.

May 13th: The Rangers plan on placing Ryan Garko on waivers, according to Richard Durrett of ESPN DallasT.R. Sullivan of MLB.com writes that Garko will be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City and then put on outright waivers.  The Rangers are making the move to open up a spot for the returning Nelson Cruz.

Texas claimed Garko in April to be used as a backup to Chris Davis who could hit against lefties.  However, the switch-hitting Justin Smoak's presence means that the need for Garko is no longer great.

Garko, 29, has struggled thus far in 2010, posting a .094/.171/.094 slash line in 37 plate appearances.


Odds & Ends: Indians, Dunn, Cardona, Giants

Let's check out some links on a beautiful evening in New Jersey..

  • Indians manager Manny Acta says that he's still focused on developing the team's young talent, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.
  • Adam Dunn says that signing another two-year deal wouldn't be his preference, though he's not opposed to it, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
  • Other clubs are upset over Toronto's reported agreement with Adonis Cardona, writes Jeremy Sandler of the National Post.
  • Even more from Baggarly, as he tells us not to expect the Giants to sign Jermaine Dye or call up Buster Posey in the coming days.
  • Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News (via Twitter) doesn't think the Giants would benefit from bringing back Ryan Garko.
  • Former Royals manager Trey Hillman said that the team had a lengthy players-only meeting prior to being swept by the Rangers, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
  • Giants manager Bruce Bochy, GM Brian Sabean, and hitting coach Hensley Meulens are "talking over options"  following a 1-hit loss to San Diego, writes Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News (via Twitter).
  • The Reds have promoted Yonder Alonso to Triple-A Louisville, tweets Ben Badler of Baseball America.  Baseball America's 2010 Prospect Handbook rated Alonso ahead of Mike Leake in Cincinnati's farm system but behind Todd Frazier.
  • MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez writes that Major League Baseball is hoping to clean up the sport in Venezuela.

Odds & Ends: Posey, Jamey Wright, Lugo, Hart

Let's take a look at a few more assorted Friday links….


Latin Links: Martinez, Maya, Ramirez, Escobar

A rumor by any other name smells just as sweet. Links are in Spanish…

  • Pedro Martinez has largely been linked in rumors to National League teams this winter, but Vladimir Guerrero thought recently his former Expo teammate might join him in Arlington. "Early in March, when I reported to Texas' spring training, I heard a fair amount about the possibility that Pedro was going to sign here, but it didn't happen," Guerrero told Juan Mercado at the Dominican paper El Dia. Martinez showed last year he wasn't afraid to pitch the stretch run in a hitter's park, as National League batters actually fared significantly better against Martinez on the road (.322/.362/.517 in 20 IP) than at Citizens Bank Ball Park (.225/.274/.701 in 24 IP) during his two months with the Phillies.
  • The flurry of activity this offseason in regard to Cuban prospects is likely "the tip of the iceberg," Rangers scout Juan Alvarez tells the Nuevo Herald's Jorge Ebro. The latest signings from the island, of pitchers Reinier Roibal by the Giants and Sergio Espinosa by the Rays, were relatively low on fanfare, but Ebro quotes a source saying interest is quickly heating up for 27-year-old Cuban right-hander Yuniesky Maya. Maya has been linked this winter primarily to the Red Sox, who reportedly view him as a starter.
  • In an interview with the Venezuelan paper El Tiempo, Max Ramirez clarifies recent reports that he is focusing on first base as his quickest route to the Rangers' major league roster. While he admits to taking some grounders, "They still consider me as a catcher and I think that's where I have more opportunities now," Ramirez says. Earlier this week the 25-year-old's name popped up once again as a possible trade chip for Mike Lowell, but that window likely closed for the time being when the Rangers claimed Ryan Garko off waivers yesterday. Nevertheless, as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Gil LeBreton recently noted, Ramirez is the odd man out at any position in Texas, especially after the team acquired catcher Matt Treanor from the Brewers.
  • Kelvim Escobar is throwing again and will stay in extended spring training for the Mets, but the team isn't counting on having him in the bullpen any time soon. A day before his previously stated April 1 deadline to decide whether to sit out 2010, Escobar told Lider en Deportes' Carlos Valmore Rodriguez that neither he nor the team are throwing up their hands on his one year, $1.25MM contract. Escobar says of Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel, "They always tell me not to worry, they don't want me in April or May, because that's not when you win the World Series. (They tell me) they need me for a long time, to take my time and not rush myself, to be patient about things."

Rangers Claim Ryan Garko

The Rangers claimed first baseman Ryan Garko off waivers from the Mariners, according to a team press release.

The Giants non-tendered Garko in December, and the Mariners signed him in February for $550K with plans for a platoon with Casey Kotchman.  Instead Garko will be paired with Chris Davis in Texas, given the former's ability to crush lefties.  The move ends the Mike Lowell trade talk for now, which was never too serious during the spring anyway.