The Chicago White Sox are evidently content to use this season to build for the future, but they have two obvious pieces that don’t fit in that theme: right fielder Avisail Garcia and first baseman Jose Abreu, both of whom will be free agents after the 2019 season.
The asking price for Abreu is probably too high and the Giants already have first baseman Brandon Belt entrenched at the position, so he’s simply not a good fit. Garcia, on the other hand, had a breakout season last year with a .330/.380/.506 slash line adding up to a 4.5 WAR, despite subpar defense.
White Sox GM Rick Hahn justifiably wants a large haul for his stud outfielder and Garcia would fit the all-around above average hitter the team needs in its outfield.
While he wouldn’t solve the problem in center field, his bat would alleviate some pressure off a low cost signing like Jarrod Dyson or an unprepared minor leaguer like Steven Duggar and allow them to focus primarily on defense.
It would be unreasonable to expect Garcia to perform like he did in 2017, which basically accounts for his entire career’s WAR to this point. After all, he posted an unsustainable .392 batting average on ball in play (BABIP) without improving his line drive rate with just a 5.9% walk percentage.
Projected at $6.7MM by MLBTR for next season and with one more season of control beyond that, he fits in the budget and is not simply a rental – which do make him even more valuable in the eyes of both the White Sox and the Giants.
As such, Garcia may end up being a better midseason target if he underperforms somewhat, and in 2019 he can slide smoothly to right fielder after Hunter Pence’s contract ends.