The Los Angeles Dodgers recently designated utility player Kyle Garlick for assignment. Could he be a fit for the San Francisco Giants?
The Dodgers’ decision to place him on waivers had more to do with a roster crunch than it did with his performance on the field.
The 28-year-old was originally drafted in the 28th round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Cal Poly Pamona. Current Giants team president Farhan Zaidi was serving as the Dodgers general manager at the time.
While Garlick is not extraordinarily versatile, he does have professional experience at first base, right field, and left field. However, he only saw time at the corner outfield spots when he was called up last year.
He bats from the right side, which is a quality that the Giants continue to seek. The fact that Hunter Pence bats right-handed and posted a 1.015 OPS against southpaws last season is part of what led to his reunion with the Giants.
With that being said, Garlick makes sense as a potential platoon player.
He hit .250/.321/.521 (118 OPS+) with three home runs and six RBI across 53 plate appearances last season. That included a cool 1.000 OPS in 33 plate appearances against left-handed hurlers.
Sure, that is a small sample on both fronts, but they are solid numbers nonetheless.
The Cal Poly Pamona product posted a similarly impressive 1.108 OPS against southpaws in 59 at-bats for the team’s Triple-A affiliate in 2019.
Throughout his minor league career, Garlick has done nothing but hit, and hit for power, at every minor league stop. The outfielder has produced a .288/.345/.536 line with 91 home runs and 283 RBI across five minor league seasons.
That production has vastly exceeded the expectations of a player who was drafted in the 28th round.
With that being said, Garlick carries some red flags as well. In those five seasons, he has posted a 27.2 percent strikeout rate against a 6.8 percent walk rate.
That high strikeout tendency is difficult to tolerate, but that is generally the tradeoff with a power hitter. Despite the strong power numbers, Garlick is not great at coaxing walks at a high rate.
Still, the Giants could use more right-handed power, and Garlick brings that to the table along with workable versatility. He also has two minor league options remaining, so he carries some appealing roster flexibility.
The Giants 40-man roster is full, but they will have more flexibility starting on Wednesday:
The other could be used on a Garlick waiver claim without designating anyone off of the 40-man roster. It would be another move to bolster organizational inventory.
It also bears mentioning that the Giants marketing department would have a pretty easy day promoting Gilroy Garlick Fries at Oracle Park. The marketing campaign literally writes itself.
Your move, San Francisco.