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12/12/09 11:59 PM EST

Giants make Garko a free agent

Team doesn't offer 2010 contract to first baseman

SAN FRANCISCO -- As anticipated, the Giants announced Saturday that they declined to tender first baseman Ryan Garko a 2010 contract, casting him into free agency.

Expected to be a run producer after the Giants obtained him from Cleveland for Minor League left-hander Scott Barnes on July 27, Garko hit .235 with two home runs, 12 RBIs and an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of .637. This represented a significant dropoff from Garko's performance in 408 games with the Indians from 2005-09, when he batted .283 with 53 homers and an .805 OPS.

Economics parly accounted for Garko's departure. He was eligible for salary arbitration, which would have virtually guaranteed him a significant pay increase from his 2009 base salary of $446,100. San Francisco faces possible arbitration cases with two-time Cy Young Award-winning right-hander Tim Lincecum and closer Brian Wilson, who are guaranteed astronomical raises. Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez and right-hander Brandon Medders also are arbitration-eligible.

Additionally, the Giants' pursuit of free-agent first basemen Nick Johnson and Adam LaRoche demonstrates that Garko would have occupied a subordinate role had he remained with the club.

The move left the Giants' 40-man roster at 39 players.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.