- • [Ryan] Garko is a "professional hitter" who helps because he's right-handed and can take the majority of the at-bats at 1B but not completely block off Travis Ishikawa, who probably will get at-bats against selected RHPs.
• Sabean said that he wanted a guy who has experience driving in runs, as opposed to waiting for guys to prove they can do it at the major-league level. No mystery at who he's referring to, eh?
• A key detail: Garko is under team control for two more full seasons; he's arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and Sabean said he expects Garko to be a member of the team in 2010.
(I hate to bring this up, but A.J. Pierzynski was in a similar situation when the Giants acquired him before the 2004 season, was arbitration-eligible after the season. The Giants did not make him a qualifying offer, which is the equivalent of a release, and Pierzynski became a free agent, signing with the White Sox.)
• I had never heard of [Scott] Barnes before this trade, but his stats were very good at San Jose this year: 12-3, 2.65 ERA with 99 strikeouts in 98 innings. Plus he's left-handed.
Sabean said Barnes, who will turn 22 in September, was a top-20 prospect in the Giants' system, but that he was a risk the team was willing to take because he was a bit away from pitching in the majors. Barnes was an eighth-round pick in 2008.
Just for the record, Barnes was ranked by Baseball America last winter as a top-10 prospect in the Giants' system (No. 9, to be precise). Of course, you know the perils that await a Class A pitcher, no matter how talented; the odds are against Barnes ever becoming more than a bit player in the majors (though of course we'll be pulling for him).
Also for the record ...
Ishikawa's line since April: .282/.333/.447.
Garko's line since April: .283/.348/.484.
Yes, I do know that April counts, both in the statistics and the projections. And I do know that Garko's complete body of work suggests that he is, right now, the superior hitter (if not by a great deal). I also believe that, all things considered, the Giants might be best served by an Ishikawa/Garko platoon, with the lefty-hitting Ishikawa getting most of the work (and this will only become more true as Ishikawa gets closer to 27 and Garko gets further away).
Apparently that's not going to happen. Brian Sabean just traded a shiny young minor-league pitcher for a Professional HitterTM from the Big Boy LeagueTM, and it looks like he wants to get his money's worth.