The Milwaukee Brewers need to fill vacancies at both third base and first base this offseason, and there are any number of ways that the club can go about doing so. One idea that is apparently under consideration is adding another outfielder to the roster, which would allow Ryan Braun to take a considerable amount of reps at the cold corner. Kole Calhoun has recently been linked to Milwaukee, and this evening another report has connected them to Avisail Garcia:
Brewers, Rays and Marlins are among teams in on Avisail Garcia @josefriverap 1st mentioned Brewers— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 14, 2019
Garcia won’t turn 29 until next June and has spent parts of eight seasons in the big leagues with the Tigers, White Sox, and Rays. For his career, he is a .273/.323/.428 hitter with 96 home runs and 36 steals in 3,027 plate appearances, which adds up to a 103 wRC+. He has posted above-average batting lines by wRC+ in only three of his eight years, however, with his best season coming in 2017 when he hit .330/.380/.506 (138 wRC+) with 18 home runs. He has topped double-digits in home runs each of the last five seasons.
Garcia is an extremely aggressive hitter who is prone to chasing pitches out of the strike zone, registering an O-swing rate of 41.8% throughout his career, including a 40% rate last season with the Rays. He also swings and misses rather excessively — a 17.1% career swinging-strike rate that closely matches his 2019 rate (17.3%). But fortunately that has not translated into outrageous K-rates, including a 23.6 strikeout percentage in 2019 and a 23.4% career total. Unsurprisingly, he rarely walks — a 5.9% BB rate in the big leagues, and a 5.8% total last season.
Garcia rates out as merely above-average in terms of exit velocity (60th percentile in 2019) and hard contact rate (58th percentile), but his high barrel rates (11.7% over the last two season), high ground ball rates (51.1% career), and his surprisingly excellent Sprint Speed (90th percentile) has helped him consistently produce high batting averages on balls in play (.332 career BABIP).
Garcia has been primarily a right fielder and designated hitter, and he’s generally graded out as below-average to poor on the outfield grass. In nearly defensive 5,400 innings, he has been rated at -24 Defensive Runs Saved and -5.6 Ultimate Zone Runs. He flipped the script a bit on that last season, though, posting +2 DRS and +2.2 UZR in 104 games (99 starts) between left and right field.
Garcia was non-tendered by the White Sox after posting a 93 wRC+ and 0.1 fWAR in 2018, but enjoyed a solid bounce back campaign in Tampa Bay this past year. In 530 plate appearances he hit .282/.332/.464 with career-highs for both home runs — 20 — and stolen bases — 10. MLB Trade Rumors predicted he would land a two-year, $12 mil guarantee this offseason, while Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs projected a one-year, $10 mil pact, writing:
“Avisaíl García was…fine in 2019, serving as a reasonable stopgap for the Rays. Expecting anything more than that in the future is probably a stretch; García’s most useful on a contender with a gaping wound in an outfield corner, less so for a would-be contender with ambition.”
The Brewers are reportedly “trying hard” to sign Garcia.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Savant