Avisail Garcia‘s time in a White Sox uniform could be up. A report today from Mark Fiensand reignites the flames of trade rumors as Rick Hahn and White Sox brass mull over the best way to court big-name free agents.
According to a source, the White Sox are actively trying to trade Avisail Garcia. There’s a sense within the industry that Chicago will non-tender Garcia if they’re unable to deal him.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) November 13, 2018
Just a few days ago, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic included an anecdote in a report that the Astros were willing to dispatch Francis Marte for Garcia earlier in the year. Rosenthal writes that a trade for Bryce Harper was in the final stages when Washington Nationals ownership vetoed the deal. The Astros looked elsewhere and thought the White Sox would be a nice pair.
Rosenthal writes that,
“After learning they could not land Harper, the Astros put together another trade that would have sent right-hander Francis Martes to the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Avisaíl García, sources said. That deal failed to come to fruition when the Astros expressed concern over the condition of García’s right knee.”
I mean, what if, right? Martes ended up needing Tommy John surgery anyway, but I don’t think there is a White-Sox fan among us that would have blinked at that deal.
Garcia is expected to receive a salary in the $8-million neighborhood for his final season before free agency. With the possibility of grabbing one or two of the most sought-after free agents (Manny Machado, Bryce Harper or Patrick Corbin) they will indeed push to close a deal before the Nov. 30 non-tender deadline.
If there are no takers by then, it would be wise to make a fair offer to Garcia given his injury-shortened 2018 season and see if there is value for Garcia on the trade market with a smaller-than-expected contract.
Who would be interested?
There are several teams that come to mind. The Diamondbacks might need some help given AJ Pollock hit free agency this year. The Astros could still pull the trigger, albeit for a discount, if they still believe Garcia can help them next season. Even the Dodgers could make a case to chase Garcia depending on how they feel about Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp.
But a dark horse could be the Nationals. Given that Harper is dangling out in free agency, the Nationals could seek a bargain replacement to provide a cushion to Victor Robles. Robles is a serious prospect and likely to be an outstanding major-leaguer, but he’s not even 22 years old yet and the window of opportunity is closing for the Nationals.
Whomever the White Sox are casting a line out to on Garcia, don’t expect a deluge of riches in return. Garcia has improved the last two seasons but his limited control and lack of consistency will give other teams pause. Still, I’m curious how trading Garcia will impact their pursuit of free agents.