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Chicago White Sox: Is Leury Garcia an everyday player?

Joshua Finkelstein
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 3: Leury Garcia #28 of the Chicago White Sox high-fives teammates in the dugout after scoring a run in the fourth inning during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on August 3, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 3: Leury Garcia #28 of the Chicago White Sox high-fives teammates in the dugout after scoring a run in the fourth inning during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on August 3, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
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Leury Garcia has been used in a starting role with the Chicago White Sox in 2019. That being said, it is debatable whether he should be guaranteed that type of role long-term. 

The Chicago White Sox have been using Leury Garcia significantly more in 2019 than they had been prior to that, with the 28-year-old already having appeared in 118 games this season as compared to 82 in 2018.

Garcia has played decently this season, hitting .280/.313/.386 with seven home runs, 35 RBI, and 15 stolen bases to give himself an 85 wRC+ and 1.4 fWAR, according to FanGraphs.

Defensively, he provides significant flexibility having played second base, shortstop, and third base this season in addition to all three outfield spots.

Most of his playing time does come in the outfield where he has 1 DRS and a 3.1 UZR this season.

While yes, for a team currently 60-71 that is fine, it is debatable if the team should continue playing him every day in 2020 and beyond when the team will be hoping to take a major leap in the American League.

Long-term, the hope is that their infield will be comprised of Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Nick Madrigal, and possibly Jose Abreu if the team re-signs him in the offseason.

Meanwhile, the outfield hopefully will include Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, with one spot remaining.

The question is, should Leury Garcia slot in as the team’s third outfielder?

In reality, the team could go either way with this decision, but it might be in their best interest to look elsewhere for a third everyday outfielder.

That would relegate Garcia to the bench, but that doesn’t mean he has to become trade bait or useless to the team.

His ability to play all over the diamond makes him very valuable to the team as he could become like what Ben Zobrist has been for the Chicago Cubs, a player who can be slotted in anywhere on the diamond with no set position.

While depth like that isn’t as necessary in the AL as it is in the NL given no need for pinch-hitters many nights, having a player like Garcia that can slot-in whenever a need arises is still immensely valuable.

Look no further than the Boston Red Sox usage of Brock Holt, who has been used in this light. At times, he has even had to become a regular because of unexpected injuries.

Having a player like Garcia as your fallback option is way different than having him as the first choice to open a season at a given position.

Garcia as your second choice is better than many in baseball, but as a starter, he would at best be a mediocre option in the outfield.

Another aspect of this to consider is that this is going to be a very young and unestablished core next season, meaning some of these guys might not flourish the second they make it the bigs or even in their first cups of coffee with the team.

That means the team really might need a backup plan for their top prospects because if the team doesn’t have one, they could quickly fall out of contention.

Next. White Sox Enter Another Series With Division Leading Twins. dark

Leury Garcia provides that insurance for the Chicago White Sox and long-term that would appear to be the smartest way to utilize him.

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