Fantasy Fallout: Garko heads to San Francisco

Garko is best described as solid, yet unspectacular. (Icon/SMI)

Last night the Indians and completed a deal, sending first baseman/outfielder Ryan Garko to the Giants for minor league pitcher Scott Barnes and a player to be named later. Let’s look at the implications of this deal from a fantasy perspective, one concerned mostly about new playing time situations.

Fallout: Ryan Garko

This trade has a slightly positive effect on Garko. He played in almost all of Cleveland’s games either at first or in the outfield, and should still receive most of the playing time at first base for the Giants. Garko will receive all of the playing time against left-handed starters, but may split some time with Giants current primary first baseman Travis Ishikawa when facing a righty. Overall though, at bats should come aplenty for Garko with his new team.

Leaving the AL and heading to the relatively easier NL West will help pad Garko’s stats as he will be facing, in general, less skilled pitchers. This will only help him to a strong finish in what has been a bounce-back season for him after a forgettable 2008.

With his ability to hit for both average and power, Garko is a more than serviceable first baseman even in somewhat shallow leagues. In any league deeper than 12 teams mixed he should be owned, and I would consider adding him in a 12 team league if unowned. Not necessarily so much because this trade boosts his value, but because he was a fairly underappreciated fantasy commodity to begin with.

Fallout: Travis Ishikawa

The big loser in this trade is Giants first baseman Travis Ishikawa, who now will see most of his playing time taken away and given to Garko. Ishikawa was having a mediocre year, batting .269 with seven home runs and two steals in his first full major league season so his fantasy value was limited before the trade. Now he can effectively be dropped in almost all leagues and even his long-term value is ruined by the deal since Garko will be under team control through 2012.

At almost 26 years old, time is running out for Ishikawa to establish himself as a big league regular and this trade is no vote of confidence from the Giants front office.

Fallout: John Bowker

John Bowker, a player some were expecting to overtake Ishikawa and become a solid fantasy regular, is maybe hurt the most from the deal.

A couple of weeks ago Bowker was mashing in Triple-A to a .347 average with 17 home runs tune, and recently called up to the majors looking like he would win the first base job. Now fast forwarded to the present, after an 11 game major league audition in which he barely touched the ball, Bowker is back in the minors to continue working on his game. He is no youngster at 26, so time is running out for him to establish himself as well.

Fallout: The Indians infield

Space is now clearing up in the Indians infield and Andy Marte may now see some long-awaited at bats as he was called up from Triple-A where he was having his renaissance season. Struggling third baseman Jhonny Peralta is trying his hardest to prevent that from happening—going 10 for his last 17—but the Indians want to give Marte a shot.

Kelly Shoppach will receive more playing time at catcher since Victor Martinez figures to spend more time at first base, at least as long he does not get traded. You know my opinion of Shoppach. I have not heard the word on how Matt LaPorta will be handled through all of this, though overall the trade is positive news.

Stay patient, LaPorta owners.

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Paul Singman
Paul Singman

Contrary to what I say in the article, Kelly Shoppach might instead be hurt by the deal since Andy Marte looks like he will be playing primarily first base. That means V-Mart will spend more time catching and Shoppach on the bench.

I thought the Indians would not want to take away a main part of his value, his great third base defense. Perhaps he is a great defender at first, too.

Derek Carty
Derek Carty

Of course, with V-Mart likely to get traded, it might not matter for very long smile