3 potential landing spots for SF Giants infielder Tommy La Stella in bad contract swap
2. The Chicago White Sox - Reliever Joe Kelly and Outfielder Leury García
A.J. Pollock is also a candidate given that he holds a $10 million player option that he will almost certainly exercise after a down year. However, this would only make sense for the White Sox if they wanted create a little extra breathing room under the salary cap as the difference between Pollock and La Stella's cap hit for 2023 is about $4 million.
Joe Kelly and Leury García are both coming off of down seasons. Kelly is a veteran reliever who posted a 6.08 ERA with a 12.9 K/9 in 43 appearances for the White Sox in 2022. The good news is that he still flashes a relatively healthy fastball with good strikeout numbers but his control has been erratic throughout his career.
He has a cap hit of $8.5 million with a $9.5 million team option for 2024. This includes a $1 million buyout. That is a lot of money to commit to an unreliable reliever, which is why Chicago might be willing to swing a deal. It is nearly a wash in terms of overall obligations remaining, so it could be a one-for-one swap.
On the other hand, Leury García is very similar in terms of cap hit. The switch-hitting signed a three-year, $16.5 million deal last winter but he has struggled badly since then. García posted a .500 OPS in 315 plate appearances this year and he has been a below-average hitter for much of his career.
However, unlike La Stella, the longtime White Sox utility fielder has a pretty decent and versatile glove. He is a glove-first position player, which could be something that could interest the Giants considering their defensive struggles in 2022.
Given that the Giants would be taking on an extra year, it would make sense for Chicago to pitch in a mid-level prospect. Neither team comes out on top with a move like this but if could make sense if the White Sox wanted a little more offense and it the Giants wanted better defense at premium positions.