Ryan Garko Rumors

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.

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."

Rangers Interested In Garko, Baldelli

The Rangers are interested in Ryan Garko and Rocco Baldelli, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. Rangers GM Jon Daniels said in an EPSN.com chat yesterday that "some interesting guys" remain on the market. Jermaine Dye, who was connected to the Rangers earlier in the offseason, seems less likely to end up in Texas than Garko or Baldelli.

Garko, 29, hit .268/.344/.421 last year with the Indians and Giants. He's been an average defender at first over the course of the last two seasons, and he's played some outfield. As MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reminds us, the Rangers were in the mix for Garko last summer. The Orioles had been linked to Garko earlier in the winter, but that was before they signed Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins

The Rangers could pursue Baldelli if they're looking for more outfield experience. Baldelli has mostly played center, but he has experience in left and right, too. The 28-year-old hit .253/.311/.433 last year for the Red Sox.

Corner Infield Options For The Orioles

The Orioles' search for a corner infielder begins with a pair of Scott Boras clients and extends to Puerto Rico, but with a number of alternatives available, the club can afford to wait. Boras, who spoke recently with team president Andy MacPhail, tells Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun that Hank Blalock and Joe Crede are options for the Orioles.

"They are fits for Baltimore," Boras said. "It just really depends on whether they want a first or a third baseman."

MacPhail would prefer to play Garrett Atkins at first, according to the Sun, so Crede might makes more sense for the O's. Crede will be looking for the kind of make good contract that fellow Boras client Adrian Beltre signed last week: a short term deal that allows the player to demand a bigger contract if he succeeds.

As expected, the Orioles scouted Carlos Delgado in Puerto Rico last week, according to Roch Kubatko of MASN.com. Kubatko names Russell Branyan, Ryan Garko and Chad Tracy as alternatives the O's could pursue.

The Sun notes that the O's signed former Marlin Andy Gonzalez to a minor league deal.

Heyman On Mauer, Pujols, Damon, Washburn

3:59pm: David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that the Braves have not made an offer to Damon, contrary to Heyman's suggestion below.

12:49pm: Jon Heyman's latest column for SI.com leads with thoughts on contract talks for two superstars, Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols.  Heyman says Mauer has been slow to engage with the Twins only because he's giving them a chance to put the 2010 team together first.  Heyman believes Mauer is "thinking about a contract for at least seven years and more than $20MM, though he isn't going to press the $30MM issue that could conceivably come into focus if he goes the free-agent route."  On the other hand, Heyman says Pujols is "surely seeking" $30MM a year.  On to Heyman's other rumors…

  • Heyman believes the Braves and Giants made offers to Johnny Damon.  It's not clear if the Giants' offer for Damon is still on the table given their Aubrey Huff agreement.
  • Jarrod Washburn rejected a $5MM offer from the Twins; the Mets and Royals are other suitors.
  • The Mariners have considered Ryan Garko.  An outfielder would make more sense.
  • The Rangers are looking for a "low-cost starting pitcher."
  • The Orioles are "still in play" for first baseman Adam LaRoche.  Currently it's difficult to name another LaRoche suitor.

Orioles Seeking Closer, Corner Infielders

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun dishes the latest Orioles hot stove news…

  • The Orioles contacted the agents for a few of Saturday's non-tendered players, including reliever Matt Capps.  Capps' agent has mentioned his client's desire to close as a major factor, and the Orioles could accomodate.  However, Connolly names Fernando Rodney as Baltimore's top target at closer.  Mike Gonzalez, Jose Valverde, and Kevin Gregg are also of interest, though Gonzalez and Valverde are dinged for the draft pick cost.
  • The Orioles need help at the infield corners, and they've contacted the agents for a long list of free agents: Carlos Delgado, Hank Blalock, Joe Crede, Nick Johnson, Ryan Garko, Garrett Atkins, and Mike Jacobs.  I think they'd be best-served by adding Delgado and Crede.  Your thoughts?
  • Connolly indicates that about 25, rather than 15, teams were on hand to watch Aroldis Chapman yesterday.  So the list of teams not monitoring Chapman is shorter.  The Orioles remain involved.

Non-Tendered Players

The deadline for teams to offer contract to their players with less than six years of service time is midnight ET tonight, so let's keep track off all the non-tenders here in one post. Make sure you check back in, we'll be updating this post throughout the day.

Giants Non-Tender Ryan Garko

11:29pm: Baggarly writes that Garko did not see eye-to-eye with manager Bruce Bochy and likely wouldn't have seen much playing time in 2010.  Now, the Giants have turned their attention to signing Nick Johnson or Adam LaRoche to play first base.  Another option would be to sign Mark DeRosa to play third and move Pablo Sandoval to first. 

San Francisco has made offers to all three of the aforementioned free agents, but couldn't agree on the dollar figures.  It may take LaRoche a while to come around as he is seeking a three-year, $31.5MM deal.

11:00pm: The Giants elected to not tender Ryan Garko an offer, reports Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News (via Twitter).

After coming to the Giants in July, Garko was unable to get into a rhythm, posting a .638 OPS in 40 games.  For his career, the soon-to-be 29-year-old has a slash line of .351/.441/.792.

Twitter Rumors: Mets, Astros, Ross, Garko

A fresh bash of Twitter rumors, with the earlier post so bloated…

Giants Notes: Bay, Free Agents, Arbitration Cases

The Giants had a pretty busy day yesterday, re-signing second baseman Freddy Sanchez to a two-year deal, and outrighting lefty Noah Lowry, making him a free agent. Henry Schulman of The SF Chronicle has some more Giants' rumors for us this morning…

  • GM Brian Sabean says he sees a "later-developing market. We don't have a relative sense of urgency like last year, which will play in our favor."
  • Schulman says San Francisco is expected to make a run at free agent outfielder Jason Bay.
  • Sabean also said the team has had "some level of conversation" with each of their potential free agents, most notably Juan Uribe, Randy Winn, and Bengie Molina. Yesterday we learned that Uribe informed the Giants that he intends to test the market.

Meanwhile, Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News notes that several of the Giants' core players are eligible for arbitration this winter, including Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson, Jonathan Sanchez, and Ryan Garko. If Lincecum takes home another Cy Young Award this year, that would be the most awesome first year arbitration case in history.