Help me out. Pick the most reasonable option. Did the Giants...
a. judge a player on 100 at-bats. Like, they honestly, truthfully thought that 100 at-bats were enough to change their minds about a player, or
b. not really scout a player they acquired in a trade for the third-best pitching prospect in their system
Because it can't be both. The Giants might have been excited to acquire Garko, only to watch 100 at-bats -- which included a lot of hard-hit outs, mind you -- and think, oh, this guy isn't a major leaguer at all! Never mind the previous 1500 at-bats; I don't know what pimply faced intern recorded those in-game events, but they shouldn't be trusted.
Or they traded for a guy because he was one of the only players available, and they were horrified when he showed up with a looping, pop-up machine of a swing. "I thought you said this guy was good!" "I didn't say that, you said that!"
According to Extra Baggs, the Giants have a contract offer out to Adam LaRoche. That's swell. All things being equal, I'd rather have LaRoche over Garko. That's not the choice, though. The choice is between LaRoche and Garko carrying a suitcase filled with $15M to $25M, which is probably going to be the difference between the two players for the next two years.
This, combined with the idea that Eugenio Velez might start in left field, means that Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy really believe that it's a good idea to form lasting opinions based on random stretches of at-bats. I suspected as much, but the confirmation stings. Garko's slump happened to come when he was first acquired. Failure! Horrible specimen of a player! Velez's hot streak came when he was recalled from Fresno. Rapture! He's figured it out!
Once again, I have to look around to see if Rod Serling is narrating my life as I type this. I don't mind the non-tendering if it means the Giants will improve the team. I'd rather have Nick Johnson, even if he'd cost a lot more extra scratch. But what I mind is that nothing should have changed between acquisition and non-tendering. Nothing. If the Giants thought Garko was good enough to give up a top-ten prospect in July, they sure as hell should have thought he was worth $1M or $2M in December. A handful of at-bats shouldn't have changed anyone's mind.