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Avisail Garcia to decline mutual option with Milwaukee Brewers and become free agent

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He was Milwaukee’s most productive outfielder in 2021.

St Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers now have clarity on both of their players with contract options for 2022. Yesterday, it was reported that Jackie Bradley, Jr. would exercise his player option and return to patrolling the outfield grass at American Family Field in 2022. Earlier today, we learned that Avisail Garcia would be declining his half of the mutual option he and the team shared for 2022. He will become a free agent and could be in line for a nice payday.

Garcia, 31 next June, is coming off the second-most productive season of his career. For the Brewers in 2021, he hit .262/.330/.490 with a career-high 29 home runs and 86 RBI, for an OPS+ of 117. He received strong marks in right field with +8 Defensive Runs Saved on his way to posting 2.9 bWAR, his best full-season total since his 4.4 bWAR year in 2017. Garcia’s original contract was a two-year, $20 mil deal that included a club option for $12 mil for 2022. There was language in the contract that would allow the option to convert to a mutual one if a certain threshold for plate appearances was achieved, and Garcia eclipsed that mark in September. He’ll receive a $2 mil buyout and head to the open market in search of another multiyear deal.

Garcia’s track record offensively is inconsistent, much like the hot-and-cold nature of his two-year tenure with the Brewers. The wonkiness of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season aside, Garcia translated his reputation as a Statcast darling into tangible on-field results in 2021. He has attributed his success in part to shedding weight prior to the season, suggesting that he didn’t feel as worn down in September. Garcia is eligible to receive a Qualifying Offer from the Brewers, although it seems unlikely that he would be extended one. He does seem like a good bet to beat his last contract, though, and with $50+ mil of payroll already committed to the outfield and many arbitration increases coming, the Brewers can offer fans plenty of excuses if Garcia signs elsewhere this offseason.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference