The decision whether to tend Avisail Garcia might be the biggest battleground in the Offseason Plan Project. Watching that column has been like watching election night results roll in, with various precincts allowing one side to get on a little run before another cluster cancels it out.
Right now, the “non-tender” faction is winning by the slimmest of majorities, with 42 out of 86 plans. But if you assessed it only by final rosters, “non-tender” would win the plurality easily over “tender and keep” and “tender and trade,” so Garcia doesn’t really have a vote of confidence among the Sox Machine GMs. (This has been updated after updating the offseason plan tracker.)
That part seems to extend to reality, at least according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand:
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
Brian Cashman raised the bar for candor when it comes to discussing expensive arb-eligible players who aren’t in the team’s plans. Regarding Sonny Gray, Cashman told the New York Post last week:
“We are going to move him if we get the right deal because I don’t think it is going to work out in The Bronx,” Cashman told me Monday at the GM Meetings. “I don’t feel like we can go through the same exercise and expect different results.”
Cashman said that he has received a lot of interest in Gray, enough to feel confident a trade is available. The Yankees GM said, “There are enough teams that think highly enough of him, that are interested and understand why [Gray pitched poorly].”
The latter paragraph is why Cashman can speak so openly. The acknowledgment maybe puts a little bit of a dent in his leverage, but enough teams would enjoy tinkering with Gray as opposed to overinvesting in 30something starting pitcher, so he should generate some interest, even if it results in a prospect years away from the majors at best.
With Garcia, I think everybody here sees the difficulty in marketing. It’d be one thing if he had the big steps back in his OBP and strikeout rates, or if he had another year abbreviated by injuries. The combination makes it harder for a team to think they can come out ahead on an $8 million or so investment. Even if he’s good, he might get hurt.
So the White Sox are relegated to this traditional form of shopping for something. The timing of this report registered to me as potentially related to Ken Rosenthal’s report from a couple days ago about the Astros’ supposed interest:
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.
García, a right-handed hitter, would play the rest of the season, but batted only .197 with a .631 OPS in the final two months and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee on Oct. 2. Martes had Tommy John surgery on Aug. 15, but the White Sox were aware of his condition at the time the deal was discussed, sources said.
If you didn’t read the Patreon-exclusive P.O. Sox mailbag, what jumped out to me was a team as data-dependent as the Astros having an interest in Garcia, given his obvious shortcomings in the more projectable, reliable stats. Maybe it was the improved power to the pull side that truly caught their eye, but however it happened, a Garcia-Martes deal — even if a swap for damaged goods — is flattering on the Sox’ side, so it’s worth trying to capitalize on that thought.
It’s also not a bad thought to plant in the head of White Sox fans, especially those who are ready for the Sox to pursue bigger and better things. Based on Garcia’s first six seasons with the White Sox, it might be most fair to hang your expectations on whichever outcome would be the most frustrating. This method results in two outcomes:
- The White Sox retain Garcia, and he has another year like 2018.
- The White Sox let Garcia go for no significant return, and he has a 2017 season for another club.
Both are forehead-slappers, but the latter is more defensible, because even a 2017-like season has limited benefits for the White Sox. Maybe it nets a really intriguing prospect at the deadline, or maybe it results in the qualifying offer being worth handing out, but, again, truly positive outcomes run afoul of this model. If Garcia is designed to confound your best attempt at decision-making, retaining him would only really result in running out the clock.
Get Francis Martes. Throw in a prospect. As usual, the Sox waited too long to sell. Now, they should get anything they can.
It sounds like Houston nixed that deal, not Sox. I doubt Martes is on the table for Avi now. I suppose I’d be in favor of tendering him if they waited all the way up to the Nov 30th deadline and evaluated him fully after almost two months of post surgery rehab. If they liked what they saw regarding his recovery and his weight, they could bring him back and hope for another 2017 season, in which case i’d be happy to see him flipped for mlb-ready pitching or an infield prospect. If they decide to non-tender and keep the $8M, that’s cool too, i just hope they have some plans in this free agent market with that money they saved.
Its a hard choice for a fan base that doesn’t know the inner thoughts of management. It should be a relatively easy call for actual management. You are either signing a free agent outfielder ranging from Harper, Cutch, Pollack, Brantley etc or you are bringing Avi back for 1 year in hopes of a rebound and flip scenario.
We know the inner thoughts management. It’s, cut corners at every opportunity and hope to get lucky.
If the Sox kept Avi and he had a 2017-ish year in 2019, I still don’t think I’d want the Sox to offer him a long-term extension. So jettison him now.
If he has a 2017-ish year in 2019 he would be traded at the deadline.
We kinda thought that in 2017, didn’t we?
Good point. Why didn’t that happen again?
Because nobody bought that was really what he was, or even close to it, and I imagine Hahn was trying to sell him at an All-Star price.
Haven’t we established there’s no market for a 2-4 WAR corner bat with no real standout tool? He fills a hole. He could be an average RF for a team with enough star-power around the diamond to make a run. And if he had another 2017, great! That’s like buying a lotto ticket and winning the price of the lotto ticket.
Can’t say it better.
The general consensus seems to be (which I think I agree with) that the reason to bring Avi back would be a sort of “hold the line” scenario; just waiting out another dreadful season. Any attempt to be competitive, then, should include non-tendering Avi.
My question: is there a scenario where it makes sense to be tender even if they did spend to make a competitive push? Say we sign Machado, Grandal, and Eovaldi, and there’s not enough room to go after one of the first or even second-tier FA.
In that scenario, would you all prefer bring back Avi or take our chances with third or fourth tier FA OF?
That is the scenario which makes the most sense to bring him back. If they acquire 3 or 4 other big name players and one is not Harper, McCutchen or Brantley, then they still have a corner OF spot open. The hope would be that Avi has a 2017 year in his walk year. 2017 Avi could play on a contender. But what are the odds that 2017 Avi shows up?
If they spend elsewhere AND are competitive in the division AND Avi is having a good year, then he would probably remain with the team thru the year. He still won’t have any real trade value at the deadline unless he is having a monster year. And if he’s having a monster year and the Sox are in the hunt, why would they trade him? But I probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than all of those things happening.
Look at the list of FAs, I kind of feel like Lonnie Chisenhall will end up pretty cheap and stands a good chance of being better than Avi. I’d rather roll the dice on a guy like that. Just one idea.
Let’s say Avi has a 2019 like 2017. At best that returns 1 B+ prospect in a trade. But that costs you a year of evaluating Palka at the major league level. The f.o. would be insane to keep Avi after 2019 – he is either extremely good or extremely bad and they’d be better off with someone consistently average (2 WAR). If there’s zero chance he’s here long-term, then he shouldn’t even be here short-term. Avi is a AAAA-type of player; he might be better off playing in Japan.
Again, the points I made are unlikely to all happen, but if they are in contention at the break and he is having a big year, why would you trade him for a bag of balls if he gives you the best chance to win the division? Besides Eloy, there is no other outfielder in the system major league ready. I did not include Palka, because no one confuses him with an outfielder and he should have plenty of ABs at DH. Plenty of contenders ride out the season with players who are not part of the long term picture, but give them the best chance to win that year.
If this front office seriously needs one more year to evaluate Avi – and at the same time is done evaluating Palka, Engel, and Delomonico – then there is no point even following the franchise until the front office is replaced.
They would not be evaluating him. He is better than Engel, Delmonico, Tilson, Cordell and all the other guys the Sox have thrown out there the last two years. IF they’re in contention, Avi is their best inhouse option. Then let him walk at the end of the year.
And this all becomes irrelevant if they sign Harper.
You probably let him walk because you can probably find someone a tad cheaper, but you could still use him as back up/DH platoon with Palka.
Also, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Sox put Harper in center in 2019.
Praising Avi with faint damnation there.
I think it would be insane to keep throwing Palka into right field also.
The reason to bring back Avi is because he’s better than Tilson, Delmonico, and most likely Cordell too. And Avi’s better in the field than Palka.
Even if the Sox sign Brantley or Harper, there is still a need for Avi. While a $7m bench corner outfielder might not be ideal, you probably platoon him with Palka at DH under such a scenario.
if they aren’t making a move for a corner OF bat, then bringing avi back makes sense. although, the decision to not make a move for a corner OF bat does not make sense.
in the second scenario where they sign brantley, harper, whoever – there isn’t a need for Avi. The plan is to call Eloy up as soon as the service clock expires and give him as many ABs as possible. with respect to the palka platoon, assuming you’re operating on righty/lefty split, you’re giving Avi $8M for roughly 200 plate appearances. that’s a bad investment.
I agree. Avi would not be brought back for a platoon situation. If any of Harper, McCutchen, Brantley, Chisenhall… sign with the Sox, Avi is gone.
He probably gets closer to 400 PA, between pitch hitting, giving the corners a day off, and the platoon. Plus you’re protected if anyone gets hurt, which seems to be a thing with Eloy, Brantley, and sometimes Harper (who I think plays center in 2019 anyway).
NOW… I agree the Sox could probably get someone for cheaper, but I’m not sure I trust the Sox FO to find a ‘bargain’.
I can’t believe I’m sort of defending Avi.
I’m one of the few on here that even tries to defend Avi. I had him batting 7th in my offseason plan. A healthy Avi could be effective in the 7th spot. But I certainly don’t fault anyone who wants to get rid of him. He is a maddening ball player. Which is why we spend so much time talking about him here.
i also kept him in my offseason plan. he’s just so variable to the point where its hard to either use or trade him. i do think throwing $8M at a lottery ticket part-time player isn’t ideal though.
Good Avi is worth more than $8million. Bad Avi is worth nothing. Unfortunately, bad Avi has been around a lot more than good Avi.
Well, Avi just gets hurt and we wind up churning through the likes of Tilson, Delmonico, and Cordell anyhow.
Seems like his value to another team is a form of salary dump. Philadelphia is trying to dump Santana, I’d bet Colorado would like to dump Brian Shaw. Seattle might be willing to dump Juan Nicasio and if that trade were to happen before Nov 30 they probably wouldn’t have a problem either non-tendering him or cutting him in spring training should he be tendered and somehow get a decent arbitration amount.
This doesn’t really make any sense. If his 8 mil is seen as dead money because he’s useless, then you just NT him. You don’t tender him and then include him in a deal to dilute the value you’re getting back.
It’s a salary dump for the other team. So it makes sense unless you think all the named players are as bad as Avi.
Thing is, it’s not $8m in dead money until Spring Training at the earliest. It’s analogous to an option with a ~$1.3m buyout.
That’s as true for a team that trades for him as it is for the Sox. So including him in trade isn’t meaningfully diluting anything, especially for a team looking to shed a different contract.
Maybe I’m misreading zerobs post, but it seems like he’s indicating that his value is to even out salary to some degree when trading for another high-priced vet. If that’s the case and the other team just sees him as a means to take on another player rather than eat money, the Sox would be better off just having the other team eat money and not tendering Avi, right? What’s the point in tendering him if you’re just going to essentially eat his 8 mil in a trade?
The other team gets salary relief and a major league player to keep it from looking like a pure salary dump which tends to upset fan bases. The only way Avi is here on opening day is if the Sox give him a low-ball tender and he accepts it instead of arbitration.
I guess the question is (and this is what the Sox are apparently trying to figure out) how do other teams value him? If he’s valued as a 1 win player by some teams, then yeah maybe there is some value there in terms of him being a guy that is at least likely to earn his salary. If he’s seen as a likely replacement level black hole, then I don’t see the point. I’m not sure teams are looking at getting a player back instead of salary relief to appease the fanbase (especially if they’re just going to cut him anyway, which would make it pretty obvious).
A 1-WAR player is a below-average starter, so I don’t think that’s worth $8 million to teams on the open market, because there’s also opportunity cost involved (blocking off a chance of somebody who could be average).
Thanks Jim, so this goes along the lines of what I was saying. If teams’ view of Avi is that he’s being paid more than he’s worth, then I don’t see why you tender him with the intention of trading him (since he’d be providing negative value in a possible trade).
8 Million is really nothing to the Sox at the current payroll level. At this stage of the rebuild and his service clock, Avi is useless to the Sox at any price. As a part-time player he might be useful for a few teams. Assuming he is non-tendered, the question is how many teams would offer him a major league deal? Can the Sox find one of them (before Nov 30) that would take the tendering risk AND give the Sox positive WAR in return? I’m sure there are more teams willing to kick the tires on Avi than, say, Mark Trumbo. My guess is the only teams that would do that via trade are teams looking to offload way more than 8 million (the tendering risk) in salary.
If Machado asks for 30 million a year, not tendering Avi (who really does not matter to contending WhiteSox) means that Hahn needs to find 22 million rather than 30 million. It is a decent difference.
Maybe the confusion is in your terminology, but you called him a “salary dump”. That seems to indicate that he has no value and he’s just in a deal to offset salaries. If that’s the case (other teams see no value in him), then I don’t see the point in tendering him just to turn around and trade him. But to your point here, if other teams do see some possible value in him at that ~$8 mil number then yes, maybe tendering him makes some sense.
I called Santana (and others) the salary dump, not Avi. I’m sure the Sox don’t want to pay Avi 8 million, but the money isn’t the reason they want to offload him – they want the roster room for someone else.
As they say in Congress: “a million dollars here, a million dollars there…sooner or later it starts to add up to real money.”
It’s generally frowned upon by league officials, not just fans, to only receive cash considerations. They don’t want teams to look like they’re literally buying and selling players.
Matt Davidson winning the Cy Dunn voting. You can vote! https://www.mlb.com/cut4/who-was-the-best-position-playing-pitcher-of-2018/c-300330602
Substantial lead! Go Matty!