As the trade market is set to heat up soon, Jose Quintana and David Robertson have been the two most talked about names. One wild card that has been thrown around in trade talks is Avisail Garcia. It seems fans are torn on whether they would be thrilled or upset to see him shipped away for prospects. On one end, he is having a career year as he leads the A.L in batting average at .337. In fact, if it weren’t for Aaron Judge, Garcia would probably be in the running for A.L. MVP. What is also nice is that he is still young, having just turned 26 this week. He would still be in the prime of his career when the White Sox are supposed to contend, and if this is the new norm for Avi, he is definitely worth keeping.
That’s the thing though. Is this the new norm? Or is this just a fluke season where everything is going right? It is a question Rick Hahn is surely thinking about. If the White Sox trade Garcia for young talent, but goes on to hit .300 the rest of his career, is it really worth it? On the other hand, if the White Sox choose to retain Avi and he goes back to the player he once was, it will be a huge missed opportunity to pick up more young talent. Regardless of what the White Sox office is thinking, other teams have already expressed interest in Garcia, and one in particular.
The St. Louis Cardinals.
— Tim Dierkes (@mlbtrwhitesox) June 18, 2017
St. Louis is obviously searching for more OF help. This was evident in their tiresome pursuit of Luis Robert. Pairing Avi in right field with Dexter Fowler would give the Cardinals one of the better outfields in the National League. And with the way Avi has been swinging the bat, the White Sox could get a pretty solid return for him. With the Cardinals 5.5 games out of the division lead and 10.5 out of the wildcard, they are probably going to be buyers at the deadline. The Cardinals have the need, and Garcia would fit right into RF and the middle of the lineup. If St. Louis is serious about going after Avi, they have the prospects the White Sox would want in a deal.
The Cardinals have 5 prospects in the top 100, but for now let’s just assume that RHP and no. 9 overall Alex Reyes is untouchable, even with him undergoing Tommy John surgery this year. That still leaves them with 4 great prospects the White Sox could target in a deal surrounding Avi.
Carson Kelly- C, No. 34 Overall, No. 1 C
Carson Kelly was initially drafted as a third baseman, but the Cardinals switched him to catcher, where he has made huge strides. Defensively, he is as good as they come and has potential to win numerous Gold Gloves in the future. Offensively, his bat is slightly below average, but his makeup, well, makes up for it. A natural leader on and off the field, Kelly was expected to be the heir to Yadier Molina. Kelly is ready for the MLB right now, but with Molina signing a three year extension with St. Louis, his future is up in the air. Kelly’s leadership, defensive potential, and tireless work ethic would be a fantastic addition for the White Sox.
Luke Weaver- RHP, No. 58 Overall
Luke Weaver has the ceiling of a no. 3 starter, and his floor is probably a no. 5. He throws two different fastballs-one that cuts and one that sinks, and a devastating changeup that just disappears. His breaking balls need work and if he can harness one into a solid 3rd offering, he has the potential to really break out. With his exceptional command and control, he is going to throw a lot of strikes. He boast a 6-1 record in Triple-A and an ERA of 2.33. Weaver would give the White Sox another young arm for the foreseeable future.
Delvin Perez- SS, No. 79 Overall
Of all the Cardinals prospects, Perez intrigues me the most. In the top 100 at just eighteen-years-old, Perez could become a top 25 prospect one day. Take a look at how his tools grade out: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 65 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60 | Overall: 55
Clearly, Perez’ speed and fielding ability are the strengths of his game, but his hit and power tools should develop as well. As Perez matures and adds strength and experience, he should at least be an average hitter with 45 grade power. He will never be a legitimate 5-tool player, but with his dynamic glove, legs, and arm, he should grow into a game changer regardless of his power. With an ETA around 2020, Perez would fit with the timing of the rebuild, and the Cardinals may be more easily persuaded to send him off for immediate help coming from Avi.
Many fans will surely ask where this leaves Tim Anderson, and that’s fair, but there are 2 points to remember: The first is that we have only seen a year of Tim’s play so far, and it is still way too early to say that he is the shortstop of the future, even with his contract extension. I still think Tim is going to be a great player, but we still don’t really know for sure. Perez would give the White Sox another lucrative option at shortstop, or at least another asset to trade down the road.
Jack Flaherty- RHP, No. 98 Overall
Finally we have Jack Flaherty, coming in right on the fringe of the top 100 at 98. The righty does not possess electric stuff by any means, but is always consistently pounding the strike-zone, and somehow still misses plenty of bats. I would compare him to Kyle Hendricks if I had to. Both use their command and movement of pitches to get batters out, as opposed to their velocity. He was drafted out of high school, where he was actually teammates with current White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito. Flaherty made his first Triple-A start this past week, after spending the first part of the season in Double-A. He struck out 10 while giving up 3 runs on 4 hits in 6 innings of work. At just 21 years old, he is well ahead of the curve, and should become an MLB regular as soon as next year.
If the White Sox are not sure that Avi Garcia will be with the White Sox long term, now would be the perfect time to trade him. With his value having never been higher, they could net a very nice return for his services. Based on what the White Sox did in the draft, it would be fair to assume they would go for bats instead of arms. That means they will more than likely target one of, if not both Carson Kelly and Delvin Perez. Kelly could come to the White Sox organization and takeover as the every day catcher immediately, while Perez is more of a project that is still 3 years away. Regardless, the White Sox could add 2 more top 100 prospects to an already loaded farm system. The need and want is there for both teams, we just have to wait and see just how serious these rumors are.