The White Sox declared themselves dead before the end of July and basically the only thing they’ve done since is awkwardly let Robin Ventura kind of fire himself and float uninspiring rumors about trying to trade Chris Sale. Well, we finally had some news last night as Avisail Garcia and Brett Lawrie avoided arbitration and reached one-year deals for $3 million and $3.5 million, respectively.
I have long been perplexed at the notion that tendering a contract to Lawrie would be anything other than automatic. Some cited the presence of Tyler Saladino as rendering Lawrie superfluous somehow. For an organization that has lapped the rest of the league in terms of sub-replacement seasons this seemed extremely foolhardy, given that both Saladino and Lawrie are injury prone, they both play multiple positions, and they’re both really cheap. Indeed, scenarios where having too many good/usable players are rare, and limited to situations where you have like, too many really good DH-only types or something.
Even if the White Sox are dead set on rebuilding, in a world where Sean Rodriguez gets two years and $11.5 million, it’s hard to imagine that someone wouldn’t want to trade something for Lawrie at 1 year, $3.5 million.
Still, expecting the White Sox to get obvious, easy things correct has not been a given for quite some time. Speaking of which…
Garcia will turn 26 in June and has almost 1,600 major league PAs under his belt. Unfortunately, as a hulking slugger who can’t play defense or run the bases, he hasn’t posted a slugging percentage over .400 since 2014 when it was a whopping .413.
Worse, in a way, is that for all that I slam him as a player, I have never heard anything but glowing reviews of his attitude, makeup, and work ethic. Which means that he’s trying his absolute best and this is the best he can do. A DH who can’t hit is pretty superfluous, and while $3 million should not be significant, this is also a team whose biggest free agent signing last year was for $5 million.
Even stranger to me was the speculation that the White Sox would keep Avisail and dump Lawrie. Lawrie would be more valuable than Avisail as a DH, and he can play 2B or 3B. Fortunately, they avoided that bizarre scenario wherein I would truly have no clue what they were doing and settled for status quo plus some sanity.
If the White Sox go scorched earth rebuild, that’s one of the few scenarios where you can let Avisail chase his really low ceiling even more, but it’s pretty hard to imagine it would take any competent organization 2,000 PAs to get an accurate evaluation of him.
Lead Photo Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports