Former White Sox outfielder and 2017 All-Star Avisail Garcia has found a new home in Tampa Bay after being non-tendered a contract this offseason.
According to Ken Rosenthal,
While finalization of the deal is still pending, former MLB general manager and Executive of the Year Jim Bowden said of the deal:
A base salary guarantees Garcia $3.5 million, and may he earn more if he meets performance incentives.
Garcia, a former Detroit Tiger and member of their 2012 American League Championship team, was traded to the White Sox halfway through the 2013 season. Eventually taking over as the starting right fielder, Garcia developed and flourished during his six seasons in Chicago.
In 2017, Garcia enjoyed his best season statistically. In 136 games, he had career highs in batting average (.330), home runs (18), RBIs (80), and runs. He was the team’s lone representative at the 2017 All-Star Game.
In 2018, injuries limited Garcia to 93 games – 43 less than the previous year.
Opinions on Garcia’s current value seem to be mixed. According to Steven Adams at www.mlbtraderumors.com:
"“Truthfully, though, it’s difficult to know what to make of Garcia. His 2017 season was very clearly inflated to an extent by a .392 average on balls in play that he isn’t ever likely to repeat (or even approach). Garcia struck out at a career-low 19.8 percent clip that season, but he also hit the ball on the ground at a 52.2 percent clip — hardly a trend that is conducive to success for a plodding player who is listed at 6’4″ and 240 pounds”."
One may argue that this consideration played a part in looking for a short term contract with Garcia. Tampa, a team historically known for having a lower payroll, seems like a good fit for this.
It’s worth noting that while injuries saw him playing a little more than two-thirds of the number of games he played in 2017, Garcia in 2018 still managed to hit 19 home runs, one more than the year before. For this and other factors, Adams mentions there were some silver linings in Garcia’s 2018 season.
After an ugly start to last season, Tampa Bay finished the year a surprising 90-72. Competing with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, they finished third in their division and five games behind Oakland, who took the second Wild Card spot with a record of 97-65.
Unlike his predecessor and current Cubs manager Joe Maddon, Rays manager Kevin Cash has yet to take his team to the postseason. However, heading into his fifth year, he deserves credit for making his team relevant in a division that also features New York and Boston.
Those of us at Southside Showdown wish nothing but the best for Garcia as he takes the next step in his Major League Baseball career.