11:05AM: The White Sox have officially announced both the signing and Garcia’s $16.5MM salary, with the additional detail that Garcia will receive $5.5MM in each season of the deal.
TODAY, 12:57AM: Garcia receives a $16.5MM guarantee, Heyman reports.
NOVEMBER 30: The White Sox have agreed to re-sign infielder/outfielder Leury Garcia, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). It’ll be a surprising three-year commitment for MDR Sports Management client.
Garcia, 30, tallied 474 plate appearances with the South Siders in 2021 — the second-highest total of his career — and posted a .267/.335/.376 batting line with five homers, 22 doubles, four triples and six stolen bases (in eight attempts). Dating back to 2017, when Garcia established himself as a fixture on the White Sox’ roster, he’s batted .273/.317/.388 while seeing time at second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield spots.
Despite a need for an everyday second baseman in Chicago, it seems Garcia’s role won’t change much on his new contract. The Athletic’s James Fegan tweets that Garcia will continue as an oft-used backup around the diamond and, when injury necessitates, a temporary everyday option.
The ChiSox already have Yoan Moncada installed at third base, Tim Anderson at shortstop, Eloy Jimenez in left field and Luis Robert in center. Andrew Vaughn and Gavin Sheets saw some time in the outfield this year but are better suited at first base — where Jose Abreu is locked in — and/or designated hitter. Garcia is a competent backup just about anywhere, with 200-plus innings at every position other than first base, catcher and (of course) pitcher. It still seems likely that Chicago will make an addition at second base, and an upgrade in the outfield is also quite possible.
It’s uncommon, albeit not unprecedented, to see a free-agent bench player of this nature receive a deal of three or more years in length. Ben Zobrist landed four years as a free agent with the Cubs, and the general expectation is that reigning super-utility star du jour Chris Taylor will eclipse Zobrist’s $56MM guarantee. Both Zobrist and Taylor, however, hit the market as above-average hitters with everyday upside; that hasn’t been true of Garcia. The deal is in some ways reminiscent of the Padres’ three-year contract with Jurickson Profar, though Chicago will hope for better results than that deal provided for San Diego in year one.