WGRK: All Garko, All the Time

You're trying to trick me. Trap me. Get me to say something on the record. Oh, I'm familiar with this blogging stuff. If opinions aren't instant, you might as be diddling telegraph wires. But you're not going to get me this time.

I don't know if I like this Scott Barnes for Ryan Garko trade. And you can't force me to have an opinion right now.

The cold, cold numbers seem to think that Garko is a marginal upgrade. For as bad as Ishikawa has been with the bat, the difference between the two first basemen might only be a win over the next two months.

But that's just the average estimate of his worth. Maybe he confines his 0-for-5 nights to games in which Giants pitchers throw complete game shutouts. Maybe he goes 3-for-4 in every one-run win the Giants have from now until the end of the season. If that's the case -- if he's the Brian Johnson of aught-nine -- I'm in. I love the trade.

The cold, cold numbers don't give Scott Barnes much of a chance. As a pitching prospect, he's like a wee turtle, fighting with thousands of flippered youngsters all trying to reach the sea at the same time. He might take his shiny K/9 straight to the majors, develop a killer changeup, and he might be the next Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, or Ted Lilly. He might give the Indians four to six really effective seasons. He might give the Indians a future ace. If that's the case -- if he's like a healthy Francisco Liriano -- I'm out. I hate the trade.

The odds say that Garko isn't going to propel the Giants into the playoffs. And those pesky odds say that Barnes the wee turtle will be eaten by a heron before he reaches the sea. And by "heron", I mean "rotator cuff." Well, he isn't going to be eaten by a rotator cuff, but you get the point. So in five years, we'll look back at this trade and say, "meh." We might have a brief relapse into Accardonitis -- aggggaarrrrr!11 i can't believe we traded that talented young pitcher for thsi stifffffff!! -- but the odds are that no one will win the trade.

But I reserve the right to complain or laud the deal with the benefit of hindsight. The two things that I like about the deal right off the bat:

1. Garko's under control for three more years. When the good folks at FanGraphs write something like this:

The Giants will pitch this as more-than-a-rental, but finding a RH first baseman who can hit a little bit isn't that difficult

...I say, ha. Ha. Finding a first baseman who can hit a little bit -- left-handed, right-handed, or ambidexterous -- is the hardest task in professional sports. It's like finding a punter who can yodel Shakesperean sonnets in 23/8 time. I'm a Giants fan; I know of what I speak. I have watched Lance Niekros and Damon Minors and Todd Benzingers and Steve Scarsones and Desi Wilsons and Travis Ishikawas. The Giants have Ryan Garko for the next couple of seasons. He should be okay. That okay tastes like buttery abalone.

2. It fits with my preferred method of attack -- get modest upgrades at two or three positions instead of going for broke on one guy like Matt Holliday. Pick up a Garko and __, keep the top five prospects intact, and relegate some of the worst offensive offenders to the bench.

Hey, if we get Uggla or Sanchez, we'll have another head start on a perfectly mediocre offense next season. I'm just sayin'....

I'm not sold on the deal yet. But I'm not not sold on the deal yet. I have a soft spot for left-handed pitchers who strike out a ton of hitters with good control and good stuff in a league in which they're age appropriate. They're pretty neat, and I had Barnes rated pretty high on my personal prospect list. But if the Giants can cobble together a I Can't Believe It's Not An Offense imitation offense over the next couple of months, as well as next season, I'll be thrilled.

Just don't ask for an opinion right now. I'm fresh out.

Also of note: It was interesting to be in Zeke's with a bunch of Giants nerds when the trade went down. It was like the beginning of Crimson Tide, when Denzel Washington and Viggo Mortensen's pagers went off at the same time at a kid's birthday party.

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