After struggling in 2018 with the White Sox to the tune of a .236/.281/.438 slash line with 19 home runs and 49 RBI, the Tampa Bay Rays decided to take a flier on Avisail Garcia with a one-year, $3.5 million contract despite already having Austin Meadows, Tommy Pham, and Kevin Kiermaier.
That paid off for the team and Garcia picked the right place to play as he hit .282/.332/.464 with 20 home runs and 72 RBI to give himself a 111 OPS+ and 2.0 bWAR on the season.
Defensively, he was strong too, with three defensive runs saved and a 3.2 UZR in 775 innings playing right field, according to FanGraphs.
Garcia was so strong there defensively that the team was comfortable playing him in center field for the first time since 2013. In 94 innings there, the 28-year-old had -1 DRS and a -1.0 UZR.
Over his time with the White Sox which spanned roughly 5 1/2 seasons after being acquired from the Detroit Tigers in a three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox and Jose Iglesias to the Tigers back in 2013, he hit .271/.322/.424 with 96 homers and 374 RBI.
His best season, by far, was in 2017 when he hit .330/.380/.506 with 18 homers and 80 RBI to give himself a 138 OPS+ and 4.6 bWAR.
That season and the fact that he had a .271 BABIP in his mediocre 2018 season, likely gave the Rays indication that he was getting somewhat unlikely last season which made him a strong bounce-back candidate.
The Rays proved to make the right call on that and because of their smart decision to sign him on the cheap this offseason, they will likely pencil him in their lineup against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night for the AL Wild Card Game.