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Garko better not get screwed over

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Garko better not get screwed over

Unread postby consigliere » Fri Mar 23, 2007 3:15 pm

Lots of talk that the Indians are not enthused with his defense at 1B, and they may opt to go with 5 outfielders instead (Choo or Francisco make the team) and keep Blake the regular 1B and he doesn't play OF. Victor and Hafner would occassionaly play 1B, and when Nixon has to sit against a lefty B-Fran would start.

But, if the Indians send down Garko I might go apeshit. Absolutely no logic whatsoever to such a move.

Garko mashes lefties, and would be a dangerous bat off the bench late in games considering our left-handed heavy lineup. I'm not hating on B-Fran here, as I want him on the team in place of Michaels, but that is another story.....but Garko should be on the bench with likely Rouse the utility guy.

But no, the Indians are being anal again over something, and are not happy with his defense. I've talked to all kinds of national guys via e-mail, and they say he is an adequate defender. I talked to Kline of BA who talks to scouts, I've talked to GOldstein of Bpro who is a prospect guru and talks to scouts, and I've talked to the head guru of them all John Sickels.....they all say he is at worst an average defensive 1B.

From the way the Indians are making it out, you'd think the guy played with a glove made of swiss cheese. I mean, why don't they hold Hafner and Vic to the same standards at 1B? Those two are arguably worse than Garko right now at the position defensively, yet they don't seem so concerned. And, it is not like Blake is a world-beater defensive 1B.

The Indians are being incredibly stubborn (stupid?) here. I mean, is Garko going to get that much better with another year in AAA? He's about what he is defensively. Sending Garko down to Buffalo for the THIRD year in a row seriously risks losing the guy. We saw what happened last year when he got sent down, he tried to do too much. And, we saw what happened to Phillips after he worked his tail off in 2004 to make the club in 2005 but was sent down.

It would be such a minimal dropoff, if at all, playing Garko at 1B in place of Vic or Hafner. Blake is better, but we know Blake is going to get the lion's share of PT there anyway. The Indians really need to find a way to stop this endless cycle of not giving their prospects chances to start the season. They stuff them in Buffalo year after year, and then only give them a shot once their hand is forced because they are out of options.
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Unread postby DGeneral » Fri Mar 23, 2007 3:24 pm

I am in total agreement. Well stated and very troublesome. Follows a familiar pattern we all have noted about this FO not willing to take risks on young talent.

What's disturbing is they ARE NOT holding Hafner-Jhonny-Victor to the same standard.

Not taking advantage of the talent under your nose is just a very disturbing limitation of Shapiro and Wedge. If Garko does not make this team, all fans have to call ass on this FO for ineptitude.
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Unread postby Steve Buffum » Fri Mar 23, 2007 3:54 pm

DGeneral wrote:I am in total agreement. Well stated and very troublesome. Follows a familiar pattern we all have noted about this FO not willing to take risks on young talent.

What's disturbing is they ARE NOT holding Hafner-Jhonny-Victor to the same standard.

Well, now, wait a minute. What defensive standard are you going to hold Hafner up to? He must not urinate on the bench? If Garko could hit as well as Hafner, he'd be on the team, and Hafner would not. And I'd be pretty good with that. The fact is, Hafner is (arguably) the second-best hitter in the major leagues: the fact that Garko doesn't compare is like disparaging Fausto Carmona because he isn't as successful as Chris Carpenter.

Now, with Jhonny, they certainly let him play a lot of bad defense last season. But by golly, the only thing I read about Peralta this off-season was, "He'd better improve his defense or he will not play." I don't know if that was totally serious: we have no one who can approach Peralta as an offensive shortstop. If he can play simply adequately in the field, he is a real asset. All indications are that they DID hold Peralta to EXACTLY this standard: he improved his defense (as reported by Tony, among others), and is considered the everyday shortstop. He improved, he plays, huzzahs all around.

Martinez is simply not a bad catcher. He is a bad base-stealer-thrower-outer. But he is not a bad defensive catcher overall. More to the point, though, the difference between Martinez and (for example) Shoppach offensively completely drawfs the difference between Garko and Blake offensively, and I'm a huge Ryan F Garko pimp. The confound is that to make Marte and Peralta valuable defensive players, we have to have a first baseman they can trust.

This is all on Garko, IMO. If he makes the team, it is because he did enough to improve. If he doesn't, I'm not sure I can wail and gnash that the team's evaluation of his improvement is that far off. I would rather have Garko on the roster. I think he is a good hitter. I think drawing a lot of global conclusions from whether he's on the roster or not is kinda far-fetched.
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Unread postby DGeneral » Fri Mar 23, 2007 4:21 pm

Steve Buffum wrote:This is all on Garko, IMO. If he makes the team, it is because he did enough to improve. If he doesn't, I'm not sure I can wail and gnash that the team's evaluation of his improvement is that far off. I would rather have Garko on the roster. I think he is a good hitter. I think drawing a lot of global conclusions from whether he's on the roster or not is kinda far-fetched.
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I agree with your point on Hafner. The issue I have with the chronic hedging and weaseling by this FO on Garko is that FIRST BASE IS NOT A CRITICAL DEFENSIVE POSITION. It's a place where you usually can hide a "limited" defense player because they can hit well. Garko has a very good chance to fill that bill. He needs to be given a chance to continue his mashing from last season.

They except Jhonny's poor range and Victors not being able to throw out runners at the MOST CRITICAL DEFENSIVE POSITIONS. Yet they hedge and weasel on Garko because of his lack of defensive skills at 1B. Rather ludicrous and a big miss in talent evaluation. It's very troublesome when the people that are responsible for stocking the team with talent make major misses like this.

They did it with Phillips last year, This years horrific blunder looks like poor Ryan Garko.
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Unread postby Steve Buffum » Fri Mar 23, 2007 4:26 pm

DGeneral wrote:They did it with Phillips last year, This years horrific blunder looks like poor Ryan Garko.

Well, for it to be as horrific as Phillips, Garko would have to be out of options, which I believe he is not. That was seriously bad.

I dunno ... I might be fatigued, but I can't get that worked up about Garko, as long as it's Francisco getting the call over Gutierrez. That guy hurts my eye.
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Unread postby consigliere » Fri Mar 23, 2007 5:11 pm

Good point Buff about Peralta and Marte needing a 1b they can trust. Hadn't considered that.

And, good point DGen about the Indians looking past Peralta (range) and Martinez's (throwing) issues defensively, but being overly concerned with Garko's defense at 1B, which is a position of least importance defensively in the field.

We'll see how this shakes out.....but Garko deserves to start the season here. It sends a horribly bad message to young players if you ask me. I mean, the guy came up last year and his the crap out of the ball.....but gets sent down in favor of a utility player? It wouldn't surprise me though, as the Indians did the same thing with picking Vazquez over Phillips last year.
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Unread postby leadpipe » Fri Mar 23, 2007 6:20 pm

Reading Ingraham's article on Sunday on keeping Hector Luna over Garko, I just remember thinking to myself, that would be so stupid, that it would actually be funny.

Many good points in this thread. Hector Luna. Wow.
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Unread postby Dozen » Fri Mar 23, 2007 9:49 pm

I am so sick and tired of this organization holding these kids down only to see them traded to another team to cover up other mistakes and seeing the kids blossom for other teams.
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Unread postby bookelly » Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:17 pm

I think they're just throwing some pressure on Garko's shoulders. He has a .681 (sic.) OPS this spring with the most AB's. But I still think he'll make the team. They need a right-handed bat with some pop and he fits the bill.

What pisses me off is that Wedgie feels the need to lay pressure on his players. Grady Little was quoted in a Ken Rosenthal article, "I don't need to put pressure on my players, they already have enough." Wedgie is to much of a hard-ass to be a manager. His players play tight in a game where you want loose players with a swager (see Tigers.)
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Garko at first

Unread postby ramllov » Sat Mar 24, 2007 3:10 pm

I am Garko's biggest fan. I want him starting at first base with the Indians 100% of the time and not this platooning.

However, facts are facts. The infield has three young players at 3rd base, SS and 2nd base. These three players have to play. If Garko is not doing the deal at first base defensively, send him to Buffalo for about two months. He can play every day and practice on his defensive skills.

Bring him up sometime in June and fix him at first base. He can hit.

Two months in Buffalo will not hurt him, in fact, it could help him. He is not a polished first baseman. The everyday work as the firstbaseman can only help in his defensive development. The young infield players can develop a litte more confidence in their abilities. June would be a good option.

If the Indians decide to keep Garko on the club opening day, that is great. What ever works best for this player's development I am in favor.

He can be a key player for a long time.
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Re: Garko at first

Unread postby DGeneral » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:42 pm

ramllov wrote:However, facts are facts. The infield has three young players at 3rd base, SS and 2nd base. These three players have to play.


Why are you not concerned about Marte's ability to hit major league hitting. Why are you not concerned about a Sophmore slump for Barfield. Why aren't you concerned about Jhonny's poor range and lack of speed?
Why are you concerned about Garko learning a non critical defensive position?

ramllov wrote:Two months in Buffalo will not hurt him, in fact, it could help him. He is not a polished first baseman.


Garko has nothing to prove in AAA, he is ready to mash big league pitching, demoting him to AAA will hurt is confidence. Making an issue about his defense is a joke and a stupid reason to get Blake and other lesser journeyman more AB's
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Re: Garko at first

Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:39 pm

DGeneral wrote:
Why are you not concerned about Marte's ability to hit major league hitting. Why are you not concerned about a Sophmore slump for Barfield. Why aren't you concerned about Jhonny's poor range and lack of speed?
Why are you concerned about Garko learning a non critical defensive position?


I'm more concerned about Garko because we don't have a lot of options at the other positions. We traded Kouz for Barfield and that gave 3B to Marte. We don't have any good other options there. Peralta looks like he has improved and may rebound at the plate, but he's another guy we're stuck with until we sign someone or Cabrera is ready. We traded for Barfield to solve 2B and we're pretty much stuck with him too unless we want to hand the job to Inglett and we know Barfield has got much better upside while being younger.

Garko has nothing to prove in AAA, he is ready to mash big league pitching, demoting him to AAA will hurt is confidence. Making an issue about his defense is a joke and a stupid reason to get Blake and other lesser journeyman more AB's


Garko is a professional. If he's told that he's going to AAA to continue to work on his D then I doubt it'll hurt his confidence. The FO has repeatedly said that they believe in Garko's bat. I'm sure Ryan understands the issues in the infield and I'm positive that the org has spoken to him about it. Shapiro sounds confident in Garko's future ability as a 1B in the Indians' Spring Training edition of Game Face and I don't think he's just blowing smoke.

There is no purpose in Garko making the team if he can't play 1B everyday and get better at the position. If the Tribe truly believes that he is our 1B of the future then why just let him sit on the bench in Cleveland when he could be manning the bag at Buffalo?

Wait until we know what we have defensively in the infield and then call up Garko. I'm in ramllov's camp on this one - June might be the best time.

I'm all for not suppressing the young talent, but the infield is the place where young talent has not been suppressed this year. Marte, Peralta, Barfield. I can see why Blake would be appealing at 1B to start the season. Garko didn't do poorly when I've seen him at 1B, so I think he's getting better but the transition isn't a piece of cake. Buffalo for two months may be best.
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Unread postby hermanfontenot » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:59 pm

With all due respect, I fail to see what two months in Buffalo will do to significantly improve Garko's defense. And the unearned runs we prevent with Iowa SchoolBoy Legend Blake at first will pale in comparison to the black hole he presents us in the batting order.

Garko will generate more runs with his bat than he will give up with his glove, and that's right now.

I know this sounds tinfoil-hattish, but I've long suspected the organization of simply lying about Garko's deficiencies, in order to clear the way for Casey Blake to get 500 ABs at first. Ever since the BP fiasco I've had a very difficult time believing what the FO and the manager says.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:58 pm

HermanFontenot wrote:With all due respect, I fail to see what two months in Buffalo will do to significantly improve Garko's defense. And the unearned runs we prevent with Iowa SchoolBoy Legend Blake at first will pale in comparison to the black hole he presents us in the batting order.

Garko will generate more runs with his bat than he will give up with his glove, and that's right now.

I know this sounds tinfoil-hattish, but I've long suspected the organization of simply lying about Garko's deficiencies, in order to clear the way for Casey Blake to get 500 ABs at first. Ever since the BP fiasco I've had a very difficult time believing what the FO and the manager says.


I'm not convinced that Blake will be a black hole on offense. It's hard to really pinpoint exactly what Blake provides on offense and it is true that when you look at his stats this year should be an "off" year for him, but baseball doesn't always work that way.

Fact is that Casey posted an .835 OPS last season and has been over .700 even during crappy seasons. 2004 saw him post an .840 OPS. At worst, he doesn't do well and we call up Garko. At best, we have a good stick who can play numerous positions and who could, with plenty of playing time, be worth more in trade. His contract is up after the season and we'd likely be willing to move him for the right offer if Garko does as well as we hope. Giving him a month or more at 1B could improve his trading stock or just showcase the amount of depth the Tribe has.
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Unread postby hermanfontenot » Mon Mar 26, 2007 3:15 pm

I'm not convinced that Blake will be a black hole on offense. It's hard to really pinpoint exactly what Blake provides on offense and it is true that when you look at his stats this year should be an "off" year for him, but baseball doesn't always work that way.


Fair enough. It all depends on where Casey hits in the batting order. With his ability to hit the ball out of the park, he's probably a net asset hitting 8-9... but if he's hitting fifth, he's a liability. Run-producers hit fifth, and Casey ain't that.
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Unread postby consigliere » Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:14 pm

Blake should be used exactly how they are using him this spring: as a Super Utility Guy. He plays virtually everyday, but subs at 1B, 3B, LF, and RF all week. Our version of Tony Phillips.

Personally, I'd rather see Garko start 4 games a week at 1B to start the year, Blake there the other three times (then once a week at 3B and twice in the OF which is 6 starts a week). Once Garko gets more comfortable, you cut some of Blake's PT at 1B.

But, I agree. Garko is 26, he is about what he is. A half year in Buffalo isn't going to change much with his defense. He hasn't changed as a defender since winter ball 2005. He went through all of 2006 at Buffalo and Cleveland, and in Winter Ball 2006....and improved minimally, if at all. There comes a point when you just got to go with what you have.
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Unread postby consigliere » Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:26 pm

After thinking about this more.....what if Nixon may be heading to the DL and Garko AND Francisco (or Choo) make the team? I'd be down with that.

I know Nixon was supposed to be all the way back by the time the season starts, but he still isn't playing every day and isn't usually playing the entire game when he does play. He may need a few more weeks to get to 100%.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:00 am

Consigliere wrote:After thinking about this more.....what if Nixon may be heading to the DL and Garko AND Francisco (or Choo) make the team? I'd be down with that.

I know Nixon was supposed to be all the way back by the time the season starts, but he still isn't playing every day and isn't usually playing the entire game when he does play. He may need a few more weeks to get to 100%.


I think Francisco has definitely earned a spot and I feel the same about Garko's bat. I only want Garko here if he's going to play 1B every day. If Nixon is out then Blake should get more time in RF and that opens the door for Garko, so I'd agree.

Garko looked at least average at 1B to me when I've seen him. He did a good job working with the pitchers to hold runners (something they've clearly focused on) and I do think Barfield's range at 2B can diminish some of Garko's shortcomings.

Garko is the best longterm solution, but he needs to go to Buffalo if Wedge doesn't want to play him.
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