The White Sox are dangling outfielder Avisail Garcia in trade talks, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). If a taker isn’t found, says Feinsand, the club may end up simply non-tendering the 27-year-old.
A key factor here is Garcia’s contract status. He’s projected by MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz to earn a hefty $8.0MM in his final season of arbitration eligibility. With no future contractual upside — apart from a low-likelihood extension or qualifying offer — it’s mostly a rental scenario.
Certainly, the 2017 version of Garcia would be well worth that outlay. He broke out that season to the tune of a .330/.380/.506 slash and 18 home runs in 561 plate appearances. Otherwise, though, Garcia has never turned in a full season of even league-average offensive production.
Garcia was bothered by knee issues throughout the 2018 campaign and ultimately underwent surgery. That may offer some hope that his output was an aberration. He ended the year with only a .236/.281/.438 slash. Though his power increased (.202 ISO from .176 in 2017), his strikeout rate bumped up (to 26.5% from 19.8%) and his on-base percentage plummeted with his BABIP (which fell to .271 from a whopping .392).
Teams will need to decide whether to stake a bet on Garcia. Of course, the White Sox seem about as well-situated as any club to do so. While the team hopes to move forward in the standings, a short-term risk of this kind isn’t a bad strategy to pursue given the uncertainty of the South Siders’ still-emerging core.
That said, there are clear indications that the White Sox have eyes for bigger prizes — including, of course, a certain young star who’d supplant Garcia in right field. Whether or not landing Bryce Harper is a realistic outcome isn’t yet known, but moving Garcia off the roster and the books would certainly be a piece of that puzzle. It also may simply clear the deck to allow the team to pick up a different veteran or acquire a more youthful player who becomes a roster casualty from another organization. Top prospect Eloy Jimenez is obviously also a factor in the corner outfield mix, though he has spent most of his time in the minors in left field and seems quite unlikely to open the season on the MLB roster.