Following up: Leury García still a manager’s best friend

By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be well on my way to Chicago, but here’s a thought I wanted to throw out there while on the road:

Back during spring training, I wrote a post looking at the last few years of Tony La Russa’s tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals, which closed with a World Series win in 2011. The game had changed plenty between then and now, but I figured it was worth poking at his record to see if there might be anything we can expect in terms of strategies, tendencies and roster construction.

One of them involved fluctuating lineups, and the way he employed all options when his roster was healthy enough to afford plenty of mixing, matching and flipping. With the Cardinals, he leaned on a couple of players who expanded the kinds of permutations he could throw out there, and the White Sox had one at the ready.

When he has a full array of players, it seems like he enjoys tinkering, even if he can’t bat the pitcher eighth anymore. He’ll use platoons, he’ll exercise the utility of utility men, and he’ll change the batting order just to see how it looks.

We’re already seeing those wheels turning with La Russa’s regard for Yoán Moncada. […] This could also manifest itself in lots of action for Leury García. Guys like Skip Schumaker and Aaron Miles received plenty of playing time on previous Cardinals teams, and García can cover more positions better than either.

Sure enough, Tony La Russa played García plenty despite massive first-half struggles, and García’s getting regular run now thanks to Tim Anderson’s injury coinciding with his best ball of the season, including a walk-off homer against Boston on Sunday.

After the game, made a point to stress García’s contributions, and to the point that he issued a preemptive strike against haters.

“I’ll say this very respectfully: I could dislike you the rest of the time I’m here if you refer to García as a utility player. He’s a regular player who plays all around,” La Russa said. “If he stays healthy, this guy will get as many at-bats as a regular. It’s just he’s gonna play all over. He’s not a utility player. He’s just a really good everyday versatile player.”

García is a free agent at the end of the year, as he’s wrapping up a unique two-year deal that successfully helped him skirt an arbitration trajectory that may have priced him into a non-tendering. He’s appeared in each of the last nine seasons for the White Sox because of that combination of versatility and randomly distributed hot streaks.

The question here is: Should we assume he’ll be around for a 10th and 11th? I’d say to pencil García into your offseason plans, but that’s only if the White Sox strike an agreement before the Offseason Plan Project template takes shape. I’m just thinking that he has a path for further fixturedom given La Russa’s effusive praise.

(Photo by Matt Marton/USA TODAY Sports)

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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dwjm3

It would be nice to get Leury and Abreu a ring. They both sat through all the losing and came out of it focused and determined to help this team any way they could.

As Cirensica

I think Leury is getting into Marwin Gonzalez territory and too expensive for the White Sox to afford.

roke1960

Leury is the consummate professional. That alone will allow him major league contracts for the foreseeable future.

That was my favorite at bat of 2021, and there have been a lot of them!!

Right Size Wrong Shape

In reality you’re probably right, but I don’t want to hear that argument unless they’re butting up against the luxury tax (and even then I wouldn’t care).

dwjm3

I suggest Jerry find the money.

Sitting here with the third largest tv contract in the sport and 35k plus attending every weekend game. It is time to increase the payroll substantially.

roke1960

I expect a significant bump in payroll. That team is suddenly a gold mine, with nowhere to go but up.

Willardmarshall

Lotta satisfied customers over the weekend….

jorgefabregas

Leury’s season this year is shaping up to be similar to Marwin Gonzalez’s walk year, but the year before his walk year Marwin Gonzalez had a 4 win season and a 144 wRC+. Also, he was a year younger in his walk year than Leury is now.

Last edited 10 months ago by jorgefabregas
gibby32

Here is why I think that’s wrong. Leury was paid 3.5M in 20221; Cesar Hernandez’ option for 2022 is for 6.5M. I believe that LaRussa values Leury more than Cesar. If one of them goes, I suspect that it will be Hernandez. And they can save money doing so.

As Cirensica

Leury is not a good 2B. He can play 2B for some stretches’, but full time? I think Leury loses value if he is made a fixture into one position. his value is being able to play every where. As an utility man that plays multiple positions, he is good, as a 2B, he is not. Cesar Hernandez has had a miserable White Sox experience thus far, but Cesar has the track record to show he is a better 2B than Leury.

Steve

Before Skip and Aaron, there was Joe../

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mikeyb

Leury is obviously loved by La Russa, so I would be fairly shocked if he doesn’t get his way to bring Leury back next year. But if the Sox win the World Series, do you think La Russa comes back? It would be a pretty incredible way to end his career if that were the outcome.

dansomeone

It would be even more incredible to win two or three titles. I’d take that.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Let’s win one first before talking about 2 or 3.

jorgefabregas

Last time he retired it was after winning a world series. Who knows.

Root Cause

He came back because this is a good team and there is no pressure from the outside. If that doesn’t change, I would guess he comes back unless the boss (who has a kitchen) decides it’s enough.

As Cirensica

I think I read somewhere, can’t recall where, that TLR contract goes beyond a one year.