The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to a one-year contract with outfielder Avisail Garcia for the upcoming season. The deal with pay Garcia a guaranteed $3.5MM as well as include an additional $2.5MM in incentives which means he can potentially earn a total of $6MM in 2019.
Garcia, 27, a native of Venezuela was drafted in 2007 by the Detroit Tigers but ultimately only appeared for the Tigers in 53 games over parts of the 2012 and 2013 season. He was then traded to the White Sox in a three team deal during the 2013 campaign and went on to play for Chicago the following five seasons. Garcia has always had a lot of potential in most experts eyes but has never really had the type of season that most expected from him. The 2017 season was the one exception where Garcia was elected to his first All-Star game and went on to bat a career high .330 which was good for the second highest average in the AL and also led all AL outfielders in Assists (13) and Errors Committed (9). Last year Garcia did take a step back but dealt with hamstring issues which limited him to only 93 games and 385 plate appearances. Although he did not play as much as the year before he did show more pop by hitting a career high 19 home runs.
The Rays are hoping that they are signing the Garcia of 2017 and that the hamstring issues are a thing of the past. Their outfield did appear to be set however before adding Garcia as they have Kevin Kiermaier in center as well as last years mid-season acquisitions Tommy Pham and Austin Meadows. Garcia may end of getting a lot of looks at DH in addition to being a right handed corner outfield option for the Rays. It will most likely come down to whether his hamstring issues are gone and how the young Meadows performs in his first full big league season.