The remaining games in the 2016 season could very well determine Avisail Garcia’s future with the White Sox, writes Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago/670 The Score. The 25-year-old will be arbitration-eligible for the second time (as a Super Two player) but has once again delivered a sub-par performance at the plate, hitting just .243/.310/.380 in 332 plate appearances. Garcia disappointed in a full season last year (.257/.309/.365) but was tendered a contract due to the team’s hopes for improvement, ultimately settling on a $2.1MM salary. His lackluster play notwithstanding, Garcia will be due another raise on top of that sum. Garcia will probably never rate as a plus (or even average) defender, but a strong finish at the plate could seemingly hold a great deal of influence over Chicago’s thinking. White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson spoke to Levine about the work they’ve put in on trying to alter the contact point and launch angle in Garcia’s swing in an effort to generate more fly-balls and line drives.
More from the AL Central…
- The timing of the Indians’ release of Tommy Hunter yesterday looked strange on paper, as the right-hander was working toward a return from a back injury and was deep into a rehab assignment. However, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports (links to Twitter) that the Indians looked at their potential September call-ups and decided that they had more options they wanted to evaluate than roster spots available. The veteran Hunter was the odd man out, they decided, so they elected to release him now in order to give the 30-year-old a chance to sign with a new club before Sept. 1 — thus allowing him to be postseason-eligible with a new organization. Hunter injured his back in a fall at his home over the All-Star break but had pitched well for the Indians prior to his injury, logging a 3.74 ERA with 7.1 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 52.3 percent ground-ball rate in 21 2/3 innings.
- Rookie left-hander Matt Strahm has been sensational out of the Royals’ bullpen since being promoted in the wake of Wade Davis’ most recent injury — 0.84 ERA, 19-to-3 K/BB ratio in 10 2/3 innings — but GM Dayton Moore tells Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star that the organization views Strahm as a starting pitcher first and foremost. Strahm spent the season in the Double-A rotation, making a career-high 18 starts as he further distanced himself from 2013 Tommy John surgery, Dodd writes. In that time, the 24-year-old a 3.43 ERA with impressive rates of 9.4 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9, and that production, coupled with his excellence in the ’pen, will have him in the mix for a rotation job next spring. The Royals will have Danny Duffy, Yordano Ventura, Ian Kennedy, Chris Young and Mike Minor in next year’s rotation mix, and there’s been speculation that they could try to bring Edinson Volquez back into the fold as well. Beyond that, lefty Jason Vargas figures to be recovered from Tommy John surgery and will be in the picture as well.