As expected, Brewers outfield Avisail Garcia has hit the number of plate appearances needed to convert what was a team option for next season into a mutual option.
Avi Garcia has qualified to convert his club option into a mutual option, and if he so chooses can now declare free agency. He qualified based on 1,050 plate appearances over 2020-21 with last year’s number multiplied due to 60-game schedule) #crew— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) September 23, 2021
Mutual options, as a reminder, are almost never executed by both parties involved — if a player plays well enough that a team would want to exercise its end of the deal, the player likely wants to test the open market; if a player plays poorly enough that taking the option year is his best option, the team is likely looking to move on.
As Jon Heyman notes and Will Sammon of The Athletic first noticed, Garcia is qualifying for the mutual option thanks to last year’s numbers being prorated for the 60-game schedule. After a bit of a breakout season for Avi, it brings about the real possibility of the Brewers losing one of their few consistent bats in the lineup this season.
There’s always the chance the Brewers can reach some sort of contract extension with him, but with the free agent corner outfielder market looking relatively thin — outside of Garcia, the biggest names figure to be Nick Castellanos (who has an opt-out of his current deal with the Reds), Jorge Soler, Michael Conforto, Kyle Schwarber (who has a mutual option with Washington) and Charlie Blackmon.
Of course, complicating matters is baseball’s uncertain labor situation after this season. If the owners lock the players out this winter, some may just want to get a deal on paper quickly, before the economic landscape of the game changes.
Garcia has arguably been the Most Valuable Brewer this season behind the rotation’s Big Three, putting up 3.2 bWAR and 3.1 fWAR to this point in the season, setting a new career high with 29 home runs and 84 runs driven in.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs