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  1. I think its a good move for the Giants, I don’t see Scott Barnes as a big time talent, and its not just for two months, I see Garko as a big improvement over Ishikawa over the next three years as Ishi it seems is overachieving with the bat and is probably not this great in the field.

    Comment by Texas Ranger — July 27, 2009 @ 9:38 pm

  2. Ishi’s defense is real. That was his calling card in the minors. His bat is abysmal, despite a really high BABIP. Ishi will probably be a late inning defensive replacement for Garko.

    I’m sad to see Barnes go. He wasn’t going to be a starter for the Giants, not because of talent, but because of the depth the Giants have at the major league level and the minor league leve. I think we could have gotten more than just Ryan Garko for Barnes.

    Comment by tom — July 27, 2009 @ 9:46 pm

  3. Scott Barnes was impressive at Single-A but he had only an outside chance of making it into the rotation for the Giants because of Bumgarner, Alderson and a host of other pitching prospects in the system. It seems to me as though the Giants didn’t give up on a player who was destined to play for them any time in the foreseeable future. Barnes will likely help the Indians much more than he would help the Giants. Garko, while maybe an incremental upgrade, is still an upgrade at a position of need and the Giants, in my view, didn’t give up any part of their future to get him.

    Comment by Deepswank — July 27, 2009 @ 9:52 pm

  4. I see this as a good move. Not a huge price to pay for Garko – one prospect down in A-ball, we have Garko under control for a few years (though he’ll only be in his “prime” for one more year going on Bill James prime age figures). Garko’s a nice upgrade over Ishikawa, they could even possibly platoon. Ishikawa’s value has been tied to a ~+20 UZR/150 this year, it seems like there’s a lot of downside risk there that that isn’t his true talent level given how small the sample size is. He does look to have a good glove, but I don’t know about that good. Not much reason to think Ishikawa’s below average bat (for any position) will be better than it’s been so far – if anything, it’ll probably be worse given his .342 BABIP.

    So I see a nice upgrade for a cheap price. Garko should marginally benefit from a move to the NL (supposedly), so he should definitely outperform Ishikawa. Given that we’re in the playoff race but our probability of making the playoffs isn’t great, it’s a nice move to keep us in the race without foolishly mortgaging the future in any big move just to try to make the wild card.

    Comment by B — July 27, 2009 @ 9:54 pm

  5. I’m on the fence about this one as a Giants fan. It is nice to see them make a win now move while not mortgaging a serious piece from their future. However, arms are always at a premium, especially lefties with decent stuff. I feel, as others have said, that the Giants probably should have gotten more for Barnes, or dealt a lesser/riskier arm like say an oft injured Henry Sosa or Waldis Joaquin who seems to profile as a reliever, or even perhaps Merkin Valdez. Overall, I like that they are making a win now move of sorts, and I am happy that the Giants gave a look to Bowker before jumping in feet first, but at the same time I wish they’d given more then a 10 AB sample to Jesus Guzman. Perhaps Guzman could have been an in house candidate, perhaps not, but the fact is he should have gotten a look before moving Barnes, overall, it’ll be exciting to see if the Giants can make a run at the Wild Card, but unless they make another move for say Freddy Sanchez, I just don’t know if Garko was enough.

    Comment by Josh S, NY — July 27, 2009 @ 10:04 pm

  6. For real? Its good but not +20 over 150 games good, and I don’t know how much more we could have gotten for Barnes, he was a number three starter AT BEST!!!

    Comment by Texas Ranger — July 27, 2009 @ 10:25 pm

  7. See, I agree with what you’re saying, but I think you’re missing something.

    The upgrade over Ishi IS small, but I think it’s part of something else. I’ll be surprised if Ishikawa isn’t part of another trade before the deadline.

    Comment by Logan — July 27, 2009 @ 10:27 pm

  8. Why is anyone in favor of this trade from the Giants perspective?

    Garko mashes lefties, yes. But over his career (1,000 AB), he’s no better vs. righties than Ishikawa is this year (while being 3 years older).

    So for a 21 year old lefty with an over 10 K/9 and barely 2.5 BB/9, they get a 1B who’s 3 years older, a worse fielder, and who doesn’t hit righties any better.

    Barnes for a poor fielding lefty platoon 1B? REALLY?

    Comment by Jeff Akston — July 27, 2009 @ 10:28 pm

  9. Obviously not +20, but I could buy something like +10

    Comment by tom — July 27, 2009 @ 11:07 pm

  10. This feels like a marginal improvement. And to think: if Josh Phelps was healthy this whole season, this trade would have had far less probability of going down.

    Comment by Aaron B. — July 28, 2009 @ 12:06 am

  11. I don’t get this for the Giants. It seems like they should have been able to get a better rental to play 1B. Garko is a role player at best, because his defense is bad and he can’t hit RHP. The Giants hurt themselves if they use Garko as more than the small side of a 1B platoon with Ishikawa, and it only cost them a middling prospect.

    Comment by RedRobot8 — July 28, 2009 @ 12:24 am

  12. The worst case for Giants fans is that Garko hits well (a la Randy Winn) for the rest of the season and Sabean buys out his arb years + two additional years for an untradeable salary. Garko’s clearly a 2nd-division guy – too bad the Giants didn’t pick up Brandon Inge when he was on the block.

    Comment by Hawerchuk — July 28, 2009 @ 12:39 am

  13. I would like to see people stop making the argument that a player’s value is tied to the team’s circumstances. A great hitting 3B is worth the same amount whether or not you already have one. A good end of the rotation pitcher is worth the same even if your team is stacked with pitching talent. Do you think the Red Sox would get less for Bucholz because they have Lester?

    Someone will pay for it, even if they know you don’t “need” it. Just say, he’s insurance, you want him, you pay full price. They could have done better than Garko. Or given up less.

    Comment by Reuben — July 28, 2009 @ 1:01 am

  14. I’m assuming this opens up a spot for red-hot Andy Marte? Will Marte play 1b mostly? Would be nice to see the Indians give the guy steady ABs and see if his improvement is real. He’s only 25 so he’s still got a shot to be a decent major leaguer.

    Comment by Andy Marte — July 28, 2009 @ 1:15 am

  15. I disagree. If Team A has a 1B worth 2 WAR and Team B has one worth 3 WAR and they’re both bidding on a first basemen worth 4 WAR which one would benefit more? Team B.

    Comment by Kyle — July 28, 2009 @ 1:48 am

  16. “Do you think the Red Sox would get less for Bucholz because they have Lester?”

    Yes. This concept is called “leverage.”

    Comment by Kyle Boddy — July 28, 2009 @ 3:57 am

  17. Marte coming up today.

    Comment by Marco — July 28, 2009 @ 7:38 am

  18. “The Giants finally ended their long pursuit of a first baseman, acquiring Ryan Garko from the San Francisco Giants, reportedly for LHP Scott Barnes.”

    Sabean must be a genius getting this much press by trading with himself. Wait, that sounds dirty.

    Comment by Brett — July 28, 2009 @ 7:48 am

  19. “The Giants hurt themselves if they use Garko as more than the small side of a 1B platoon with Ishikawa, and it only cost them a middling prospect.”

    Garko htis LH pitchers better than Ishikawa. Garko also hits RH pitchers better than Ishikawa…

    Comment by B — July 28, 2009 @ 8:57 am

  20. I think might have been arguing from the opposite perspective, meaning that if you have a 4 WAR third baseman in the majors and a promising young third baseman in the minors you should still be able to get fair compensation for the payer. In other words you don’t have to sell low on players you don’t have room for in the majors.

    Comment by Davidceisen — July 28, 2009 @ 9:03 am

  21. So following some ideas I got from comments from Sky Kalkman, I looked into the trade value for each side:

    First, let’s assume Barnes is a grade C prospect (C+ before the sesaon by Sickels). According to the work done at BtB, that’s worth $2.1M to the Giants. If he was a grade B prospect he’d be worth $7.3M. So the question is, is Garko worth that to the Giants? Another post at BtB also shows each additional WAR a hitter provides the Giants is actually worth more than 1 win, because of the low run scoring environment we play in, which I just wanted to note.

    Let’s call Garko a 2 WAR player, and say he’ll contribute .5 WAR to us the rest of this season. We should be on the hook for about $.2M for Garko this season. Using 40%, 60%, 80% arbitration numbers (those are the estimates I’ve seen from Sky), we should pay Garko about $4M, $6M, $8M in each of the next 3 seasons, so we’re at about $18M or so. He accumulates 6.5 WAR over that time, worth about $29M. This is without even taking the low run scoring environment adjustment into account. Garko provides us with an approximate $11M in value, far more than Barnes, even as a Type B prospect, is worth. Great trade for the Giants.

    Comment by B — July 28, 2009 @ 9:28 am

  22. As a Giants fan, I have a serious question. Is Brain Sabean the worst general manager ever? Or is he just one of the worst?

    This is just one move in a saga of indefensibly stupid moves. It drives me crazy. I might just quit this effing team.

    Comment by baseballfan — July 28, 2009 @ 9:32 am

  23. The Winn extension was great for the Giants.

    Comment by Teej — July 28, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  24. Garko is going from the Giants to the Giants? I would gladly be your editor, for a fee, of course.

    Comment by grammarpolice — July 28, 2009 @ 10:23 am

  25. Barnes ain’t no Bucholz now, hes about a C+ prospect, so its not like the Giants gave up a significant piece of their future, they gave up a mediocre prospect for a mediocre player, and on a team like the Giants, we need mediocre players, when all you have are the Ishikawas and Uribes and Renterias starting games, mediocrity is welcome.

    Comment by Texas Ranger — July 28, 2009 @ 10:39 am

  26. What makes this so indefensibly stupid?

    Comment by Texas Ranger — July 28, 2009 @ 10:40 am

  27. B, yours is the only analysis I’ve read that persuades me we might not have overpaid for Garko. One question: where did you get those arbitration numbers?

    Comment by Bigmouth — July 28, 2009 @ 11:36 am

  28. Insider Trading is illegal!

    Comment by Double Deuce — July 28, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

  29. One of the articles I read to come up with the whole notion of valuing trade prospects like that quoted a rough estimate of 40%, 60%, 80% arbitration numbers. My assumption is you take the value the player is giving you (~10M for a ~2 WAR player) and multiply by those percentages. I think it’s supposed to be a rough guideline, I did read though, with regards to Garko, I think they were expecting him to cost $2.5M-$5M or so next year in arbitration, so that estimate reflect that.

    Comment by B — July 28, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

  30. The sad part is that it looks like Garko, a so-called mediocre bat, will be the second best hitter on the team.

    Comment by Stephen Fratus — July 28, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

  31. Well “mediocre bat” is taking his position into account. He’s an above average bat for all MLB players, just not for 1B. But yes, it is sad that the Giants offense is that bad…

    Comment by B — July 28, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

  32. 1) not indefensibly stupid, just a bit of an overpay from a GM looking to eke out every last win he can get.
    2) There’s this guy who works out in the Midwest somewhere named Dayton Moore. He’s spent $21 million on 10 new additions to the 2009 Kansas City Royals, and those 10 players have produced 1 WAR. Combined. Only one of them lost any time to injury. He’s the worst GM in the post-Bavasi era by far.

    Comment by JH — July 28, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

  33. Good point, but, as long as Bengie Molina possess legs capable of supporting his bulk, Garko won’t bat cleanup.

    Comment by Bhaakon — July 28, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

  34. Ugh. It’s the worst. Bengie has the lowest OBP in the major leagues, and Bochy still insists on batting him cleanup. Torres has been hitting at the top of the lineup the last couple days, despite every stat suggesting he’s due for a major regression back to a non-MLB caliber player. I’m glad he’s contributed what he has, but come on. I just don’t get what Bochy could possibly be thinking when he makes some of these decisions.

    Comment by B — July 28, 2009 @ 3:56 pm

  35. Well maybe I got a little carried away. I suppose it is defensible.

    I don’t want to re-say what has already been said, but why are you going to give up a good young arm, who has dominated a hitters league, for a league average player who is only going to add a fraction of a win over the course of the season?

    After this year Garko is going to be compensated somewhere appropriate for his production. So, to me, the question really is what is the chance that Garko is going to be the difference maker this year? What is the chance that that fraction of a win is the difference between making the playoffs. I am not sure how to compute that but I would bet that if you played 150 seasons the Giants make the playoffs maybe one more time with Garko as compared without him. Given those kind of odds, I can’t see how to justify giving up a player like Barnes.

    Comment by baseballfan — July 28, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

  36. I’d say that’s in dispute. He’s a league-average hitter, and it’s not clear to me that UZR accurately captures his defensive performance in RF. You need to adjust when you have an oddly-shaped field like in San Francisco otherwise you end up crediting a guy for playing deep and catching balls that would have been doubles elsewhere – we don’t know what exactly UZR does. I find it suspect that he’s so much better as a RF than as a CF. Winn was not worth $50M or whatever he shows up as on Fangraphs.

    When Winn signed his contract, he projected as a below league-average outfielder, and he was 32. The Giants bid against themselves and overpaid.

    Comment by Hawerchuk — July 28, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

  37. Well if you only look at it the context of this season it looks bad, but I see it as a move not only for this season but also for the future, Garko is a pretty big upgrade over Ishi, as I think we can all see that he is due for a pretty serious regression offensively and defensively (I see him as a +4 through 10 fielder per 150). I think Garko is a lot better hitter and not a platoon player because he hits righties better than Travis does. His defense has been bad in the past but by no means is a definitive collection because apparently this year he has been fooling the metrics so to speak.
    Maybe I’m biased because I was never much of a Barnes fan but I like the move for this year and the future.

    Comment by Texas Ranger — July 28, 2009 @ 8:45 pm

  38. Don’t you think that you have to view it within the context of this year? You have to figure that if they wanted they could pick up a player of comparable talent in the free agent market for a comparable price. So, after this year it’s essentially a wash.

    Comment by baseballfan — July 28, 2009 @ 9:23 pm

  39. Wow, you guys sure love a guy when he’s gone. Barnes is an 8th round pick with one year in A ball. Suppose he’d gone in the 7th to someone else. Would you be clamoring to trade Garko for him?

    The chances of a rookie pitcher making the majors at all are pretty slim. Yes, it’s nice to stock the minors with large numbers of prospects in hopes one of them will make it now and then. Good young arms have value. But your team’s future does not hinge on Barnes. It hinges on whether you can upgrade your offense enough to avoid completely wasting your awesome pitching staff before it gets old.

    You should do more trades like this to upgrade a few more positions and give Lincecum, Cain et al some offensive support. With that staff, and even average hitters, you could beat anyone in the league in the playoffs. I’m a Twins fan but I’d like nothing more than for you all to beat the Dodgers. Good luck!

    Comment by by jiminy — July 29, 2009 @ 2:45 pm

  40. I’m not talking about this specific instance.

    Comment by Reuben — July 29, 2009 @ 3:55 pm

  41. There are enough teams in the majors to get fair value. There’s no leverage in that situation unless there’s a monopoly.

    Comment by Reuben — July 29, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

  42. What David said is correct. And I’m talking more specifically in analysis than in actual trades. I.e. arguing that someone is worth less due to having depth is a little odd. They’re worth less to the team but not on the open market.

    Comment by Reuben — July 29, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

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