The Chicago White Sox have a very interesting player who could end up having a unique role for the team in 2020.
The switch-hitter is destined to start the season as the second baseman in the South Side, but could have a very unique role over the course of the entire year.
While his chances of making the team were unlikely from the start of spring training, the team was prepared to let Madrigal compete for the starting spot at the keystone.
However, he failed to impress with a lowly .472 OPS across 28 plate appearances in Arizona.
It is likely, though, that Garcia will get the lion’s share of the playing time at second base to start the season, at least early on, given his track record of success at the major league level and the fact he’s a switch-hitter in a lineup with only three other hitters in the starting lineup capable of hitting left-handed (Nomar Mazara, Yoan Moncada, and Yasmani Grandal).
In 2019, Garcia hit .279/.310/.378 with eight home runs, 40 RBI, 15 stolen bases, and a 83 wRC+ to give himself a 1.3 fWAR (FanGraphs).
Mendick, 26, should get playing time at the position too, though, as his .308/.325/.462 slash line with two homers, four RBI, and a 108 wRC+ over 16 games last season was impressive as detailed by FanGraphs.
So, with that being the case, Garcia is looking at playing five days a week, roughly, at second base before Madrigal comes up and could see some playing time in the outfield as well, especially on days Nomar Mazara won’t due to a tough left-hander on the mound.
Garcia will also be able to move to other positions on days that Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada occasionally DH.
How a potentially reduced schedule due to COVID-19 could alter his season remains to be seen.
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, MLB might not start the 2020 season until mid-May which could potentially change a lot with regards to service-time manipulation issues related to Madrigal.
However, Garcia is almost certain to have a role in which he starts more games than he doesn’t over the course of the 2020 season due to his versatility as an infielder/outfielder hybrid.
The Chicago White Sox are lucky to have a jack-of-all-trades player like Garcia on their team as those types of players come in handy for organizations vying for a playoff spot.