The Cardinals announced Wednesday that they’ve designated outfielder Adolis Garcia for assignment. His spot on the 40-man roster goes to lefty Kwang-Hyun Kim, whose two-year contract with the club is now official.
Garcia, 27 in March, appeared in 21 games with the Cards in 2018 but went just 2-for-17 in a tiny sample of work at the plate. Garcia signed for a $2.5MM bonus with the Cards in 2017 after leaving his native Cuba and was ranked ninth among St. Louis farmhands by Baseball America that winter. However, his blend of raw power, speed and arm strength has yet to generate the offensive results the Cardinals had hoped in the upper minors.
This past season, Garcia spent the entire year with Triple-A Memphis, where he batted .253/.301/.517 with 32 home runs, 22 doubles, six triples and 14 steals. While the counting numbers may look solid, the juiced ball in Triple-A led to a leaguewide home run spike that makes Garcia’s power output worth raising an eyebrow toward. He hit 10 fewer home runs in 100 fewer plate appearances a year prior. Beyond that, Garcia was highly inefficient in terms of stealing bases (14-for-24), and he struck out in 30.1 percent of his plate appearances while walking at a lowly 4.2 percent clip.
It seems clear that there’s some raw and perhaps yet-untapped ability in Garcia, who does have minor league options remaining. As such, he could hold appeal to another club in a minor trade or via a waiver claim if he reaches that point. The Cardinals have a week to deal Garcia or run him through waivers in hopes that he’ll clear and be able to continue on as a depth piece in the minors.
Even with Garcia subtracted from the outfield mix, the Cardinals still have a deep reservoir of options from which to draw — although much of the group is largely untested in the Majors. Dexter Fowler, Harrison Bader, Tyler O’Neill and Randy Arozarena are all options in 2020, as are more versatile infielder/outfielder types Yairo Munoz and Tommy Edman. The Cards also have a pair of well-regarded prospects on the cusp of readiness for a prolonged look: Lane Thomas and Dylan Carlson.
That said, adding a veteran to supplement that unproven mix still seems plausible. The Cardinals stand to potentially lose Marcell Ozuna to free agency, and their aggression in replacing him will speak volumes about the level of confidence they have in that internal slate of options.