Saturday, January 2, 2010

Defending My Piece: Garko vs. Lowell, Platoon Possibilities at 1B

Thanks to Michael Baron, Caught Lookin' was given a nod at for it's around the Majors buzz. Thank you Mike, the Caught Lookin' Crew appreciates it.

Of course, after getting the nod there were some comments on Metsblog about my wild idea of using Mike Lowell as a platoon partner with Murphy. Orginally, this idea was brought up as a way to shed Castillo (and still could be if either Scutaro or Pedroia could be swayed to move to third), but now I just think it'd be a depth addition for the Mets. This idea faced some skeptism on the comments at Metsblog, as it seemed as though other Mets fans were higher on Ryan Garko. So I thought I'd take the time to look at the two...

Although, I do think Ryan Garko is a useful player, I don't know that he's a useful player for the Mets. Why? Because a quick look a his numbers reveals a similarity to a current player on the Mets, Daniel Murphy. Garko's line from last year was .268 with 13 home runs and 51 RBI, while putting up a .421 Slugging percentage and a .344 OBP. Those are some decent numbers for a platoon players, but not, when those numbers are combined with almost identical production from the platoon partner. Murphy's line last year was .266, 12 homers, 63 RBI, with a .313 OBP and a .427 slugging percentage.

Although, Garko has a higher OBP, we're looking at similar numbers here, with a similar set of defensive skills. If the Mets ARE actually looking for a platoon partner for Murphy, why would they pick up a player who is almost identical to what they have already, ESPECIALLY, when both are younger players who could benefit from a full time gig to get better. Also, it's important to note that Garko struggled from the plate in San Francisco, in a large park, much the same way CitiField is.

As for my proposal of Mike Lowell...

First off Lowell has a few things that Garko doesn't. The first is a couple World Series Championships. He also brings leadership from a winning organization, stellar defense (even despite his age and injury) and most importantly, in my opinion, no individual agenda. When I say no agenda, I mean, because of his age and where he's at in his career he is not a numbers first type of player. Where Garko would be playing hard to show he can be a regular, Lowell will be more concerned with filling his role and leading the team, while teaching Murphy what it's like to be a corner infielder in the majors. Also, it's important to note that whoever platoons with Murphy will be playing less because of the fewer numbers of lefties in the majors. Also, Lowell allows for the ability to spell Wright occassionally, and gives a little more flexibility to the line up and ultimately, the bench.

And there is one thing we are forgetting here, Lowell can hit. Here's his line from last year: .290 with 17 homers, 75 RBI, a .337 OBP and .474 slugging percentage. Those numbers look better than Garko's to me.

Although, I would not be dissapointed should the Mets decide to make Garko a platoon partner with Murphy, I just think Lowell allows for more line up flexibility, good defense, better leadership and is more likely to drive in runs. And if this can be achieved while dumping Castillo, then I am all for it...unless, of course, Castillo is being used to land Carlos Zambrano because pitching is a bigger issues for the Mets right now than Murphy not hitting lefties.


  1. dude, the whole idea of a platoon at first base is because Murph can't hit lefties...yes they had OVERALL identical stats, but take a look at Murphy's numbers against lefties and then Garko's and then get back to us. Garko wears lefties out.

  2. how many games has Lowell and his bacd thumb even played at 1B. Uh, none. And Bosox want Castillo at 2B? Go back to putting together your fantasy team, I have a couple trades for you.

  3. Scroll down to Platoon Splits...




    I used career stats rather than breaking down year by year.

    Lowell is pretty much equal against LH and RH, with a bit more power against LH. He's 109 OPS+ against LH.

    Garko's split against LH is awesome, nearly a .900 OPS with a 124 OPS+

    Murphy is 50 points of OBP better against RH pitching with a 102 OPS+. He's 88 OPS+ against LH.

    Murphy's weak side is LH. A platoon should feature a significantly stronger performance against LH pitching ... or it's a guy that should be replacing Murphy rather than platooning with him.

    Murphy at 88, Lowell at 109, Garko at 124. Assuming you give OPS+ any credence, Garko is the clear choice for a platoon.

    If you include Lowell's leadership and clubhouse influence, that changes the equation; in fact, it changes the discussion. Lowell failing a physical to go to the Rangers this off season is also a fairly significant factor in giving up talent for a moderate on field difference.

  4. One other note, Garko might save you somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million depending on how the trade with Boston turns out.

    All things considered, I'd rather pay the money than give up talent so Boston will eat some of the contract. If Boston views it as a salary dump, takes a lesser prospect and picks up half Lowell's salary, then he might cost "only" $5 million more than Garko.

    So, ownership will have to decide how to value $5 million of character/leadership/attitude.

  5. At $12mil left on his contract, the Mets are not going to trade for Lowell. Besides, why would the Mets give up a top prospect (most likely one of their top 5 rated prospect) for a player who is going to platoon and is at the end of his career. Also, the Red Sox wouldn't even consider this with the Mets if it involves Castillo. why would they? it would make them weaker by putting Castillo at 2nd and moving Scuturo and Pedroia to 3rd and SS respectfully. They can acquire Beltre for 3rd right now, which is a better option than Castillo. Garko or even Nady (if healthy) would be alot cheaper, wouldn't cost the Mets any prospects and would give the Mets the RH production they are seeking.

  6. Yeah Lowell hasn't played much first base THIS past year, BUT, he has played first base in the past. And a move from third to first is usually a pretty easy transition, especially for a guy who fields as well as Lowell does at third.

    Yeah he has a bad thumb...but the Mets are looking at Delgado with a bad HIP...what's worse?