With the passing of the non-tender deadline (which comes at a stupid time, but that’s another story), the Cubs have cut ties with Neal Cotts and now have a few other names to look at. MLB Trade Rumors does a good job listing the players who were let go by their teams over the weekend and I’d like to mention a few I’d at least look into as potential fillers for needs we may have.

Ryan Garko (1B) – Primarily a first baseman by trade, Garko has played a few games in the OF as well. With the departure of Jake Fox to the A’s, Derrek Lee’s primary backup option right now is Micah Hoffpauir. While not a terrible option, Garko may be a better choice for that role. He’s one year removed from a .273 / .346 / .404 season with 14 HR and 90 RBI for the Tribe. He made just under 500K in 2009, so his price tag wouldn’t be a hefty one. The Giants brought him in to be a run producer and he didn’t fill that need. Looking at his numbers with the Indians, it’s clear he can be a productive player:

Year   G   PA 2B 3B HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+

CLE   408 1587 72  2 53 235 113 258 .283 .355 .450 .805  112

It seems like he’s at least worth a look to be the guy that can fill a role behind Lee and in the OF if he is comfortable taking a one year deal to fill a role.

Garrett Atkins (3B) – We saw a horrible lack of depth at the corner positions last year, but it was most glaring at the hot corner when Ramirez went down with the shoulder injury. I think it’s safe to say that his shoulder does not instill faith and we could probably use some depth at the position. The sticky part about Atkins is that, up until last year, he’s always been the starting third baseman and made a shade over $7 mil last year. I have no idea what he would command in terms of salary or role on a team, but I’d at least make the call and find out. My guess is that he would want a starting spot and wouldn’t fill in as a back up to Ramirez, but the only way to know is to ask. One thing is clear to me. When you take out last year, this guy can hit the ball.

Year     G  PA   R 2B 3B HR RBI BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+

2005   138 573  62 31  1 13  89 45  72 .287 .347 .426 .773   93

2006   157 695 117 48  1 29 120 79  76 .329 .409 .556 .965  136

2007   157 684  83 35  1 25 111 67  96 .301 .367 .486 .853  113

2008   155 664  86 32  3 21  99 40 100 .286 .328 .452 .780   96

2009   126 399  37 12  1  9  48 41  58 .226 .308 .342 .650   66


Here is your morning edition of “Who Am I?” As always, post your answer in the comment section.

Clue # 1 – I am the only player to ever get 200+ hits in a season while striking out 150+ times.

Clue # 2 – I finished my career with 328 career HR

Clue # 3 – I am a former MVP award winner

Clue # 4 – My cousin also played in the Majors

Clue # 5 – I was mentioned in the Mitchell Report

Who Am I?

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids and helps people protect their assets as an independent insurance agent. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail