Giants trade for Indians’ Ryan Garko

The San Francisco Giants pulled the trigger on their first trade of the season, acquiring first baseman/outfielder Ryan Garko from the Cleveland Indians for minor league pitcher Scott Barnes and a player to be named later. Garko is currently hitting .285 with 11 home runs and 39 RBI, while Barnes was 12-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 18 starts for Single-A San Jose.

This is hardly a move that is going to solve the Giants’ offensive woes, but at least Garko is a slight upgrade over Travis Ishikawa, who has struggled against left-handed pitching all season. This trade allowed San Fran to get a bat without surrendering one of its top prospects, plus Garko is under team control through 2012 and comes on the cheap.

For the Indians, they’re essentially giving up on a player that never fully reached his potential in Garko, while adding another arm to their depleted farm system. And any time a club can acquire an arm from the Giants’ stacked pitching system, it’s usually a good thing seeing as how guys like Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Francisco Liriano and Jeremy Accardo have all developed into quality ML pitchers. (Or Cy Young-quality/caliber pitchers in the cases of Lincecum and Cain.)

What will be interesting to keep an eye on is what the Giants do next. Brian Sabean needs to add at least one more bat so that San Fran has a legitimate shot at winning the NL Wild Card, but again, doing so while not mortgaging the future is the tough part. Can Sabean land a Freddy Sanchez without touching Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Alderson and Angel Villalona? If he can, the Giants’ lineup would have dramatically improved over the course of just one week.

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2009 Fantasy Baseball Preview: DH

All 2009 Fantasy Articles | 2009 Position Rankings

Ugh…DH’s. Is there anything less thrilling when it comes to fantasy baseball? They’re like the equivalent to kickers when it comes to talking about fantasy football. Still, you have a utility spot to fill in your lineup and there is some power to be had here, which means we’re apt to discuss some kind of approach to drafting designated hitters.

So here it goes: Avoid them if at all possible. That’s right, forget about them and don’t, under any circumstances, draft Big Papi in the top 20. It makes no sense to spend a high pick on a hitter with deteriorating power who is just as likely to miss a chunk of the season again as he is to hit 30 home runs.

Look, we mean no harm to Ortiz – he’s still a quality player and he could have a bounce back year. But chances are Jim Thome will produce just as many home runs and you can have him much later in the draft.

Of course, the question is, do you even want to select Thome, or any other DH for that matter? By the time you need to address your utility position, your starting roster should be set and you will have already started to stockpile pitchers. You can take a guy like Thome or maybe roll the dice on a Travis Hafner rebound, but understand that, in most leagues, any DH you select is going to eat up your util slot since they don’t qualify at any other position, which diminishes your overall roster flexibility. Why not save that utility slot for another OF or a corner infielder, someone who can fill several different spots on your roster and someone who, quite frankly, could be more valuable to you? Then you can get back to finding the next Tim Lincecum or cashing in on one of the many prospects you’ve already targeted as sleepers.

The one thing you will find at DH is power, which will make some of these guys appealing if you find yourself a little weak in that department on draft day. Below are your best bets to give you a fair amount of dingers and RBI’s this season. Don’t worry about what they’ll produce in terms of an average; if you select a DH sniffs .280 this year, drop to your knees and thank the fantasy gods for the gift.

Read the rest after the jump...

2009 Fantasy Baseball Preview: First Basemen

All 2009 Fantasy Articles | 2009 Position Rankings

If you do a detailed search for rankings of first basemen for your 2009 fantasy league, the only consistent thing you’ll see is: 1. Albert Pujols, STL.

After King Albert, first basemen ranked 2 through 7 is a toss up. Some fantasy pundits believe Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera is the next best 1B after Pujols, while others still feel that Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard deserves the No. 2 spot. One of the Yankees’ big offseasons signings, Mark Teixeira, is also getting some love behind Pujols, while Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder, Minnesota’s Justin Morneau and San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez are floating anywhere from No. 4 to No. 7.

What’s the deal? After Pujols, how do you value the first basemen that fall 2 through 7? By home run totals? By age? In the case of Fielder, by the size of their waistbands? First and foremost, you can’t go wrong with any of the first basemen in the top 7, if not the top 10. They’ll all give you good to great home run and RBI totals and if you’re lucky, a couple will even hit .300 and produce 100 runs.

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