In 2013 the Chicago White Sox were involved in a three-team trade with the main details of the deal being Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox, Jose Iglesias to the Detroit Tigers and a young outfielder named Avisail Garcia to the White Sox.
Garcia came over with much fanfare and was even being compared to the best player in the game at the time Miguel Cabrera. However as Garcia heads into his first year of arbitration, White Sox player personnel and fans alike have to be wondering what kind of player Garcia is and whether he is a fit in their long term plans to field a competitive baseball team.
Keep in mind I am not saying Garcia is a bust at age 24. He’s flashed potential at times that makes you believe he is a future all-star. However, if you look back at all the trades made by former Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski, he tended to give up players who never materialized to their projected potential which raises concerns on Garcia.
Garcia’s 2015 stat line isn’t that shabby. He’s hitting .264 with 11 home runs and 45 runs batted in. It’s not wowing anybody but it’s something to build on for the 2016 season. The issue at hand though is how many more seasons do the White Sox have to give him?
Aug 9, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Chicago White Sox center fielder Trayce Thompson (28) at bat against the Kansas City Royals during the sixth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
The White Sox have quite a few outfielders who project to be coming up the pipeline soon in Micker Adolfo, Courtney Hawkins, Jacob May and Trayce Thompson, who is already up. This could create a potential log jam for the future which is why 2016 is a make or break year for Garcia. He’ll need to step up and perform not only for himself but to show management that he’s a player they can build around along with Jose Abreu.
If he’s unable to post better numbers than this year or stay healthy then it may be time to sell on him while he’s still got the word “potential” hanging around him before it turns into bust.
The 2016 White Sox team will more than likely have new players at three of the four infield positions who didn’t start the season there last year. Hopefully a new catcher, as well as one or two additions to the pitching rotation so this team will be dramatically different than it’s 2015 version for better or worse.
The outfield should remain the same since Melky Cabrera signed a mult-year deal, Adam Eaton signed a contract extension and Garcia is entering his first year of arbitration. One should expect that all of these players will be expected to carry a larger brunt of the load on the offensive side in order to help ease the transition and lessen the pressure on the rookies and less seasoned veterans.
With that in mind I’m not asking Garcia to turn into the next J.D. Martinez but I think a 20/80 with a .280 batting average is something we’d all take.