By Bruce Levine—
ORLANDO, Fla. (670 The Score) – The market for White Sox outfielderAvisail Garcia was heating up as the Winter Meetings continued Tuesday. Teams that fell out of the Giancarlo Stanton derby are now refocusing on other players who can have an impact on their clubs next season and beyond.
The two obvious teams that are interested in Garcia are the Cardinals and Giants, who were looking to the slugging of Stanton to advance their offensive thrust in 2018. Garcia would be intriguing to both clubs, not only for his hitting ability but also his relatively modest contract that will be in the neighborhood of $5 million next season after his second round of arbitration. Garcia, 26, hit .330 with 18 homers and 80 RBIs.
The Giants hit the fewest homers (128) and scored the second-fewest runs (639) in all of baseball last season amid a season in which many home run records were set.
The second full day of meetings in Orlando was producing a little more progress toward deals getting done, with the expectation that many will be completed sometime between now and Christmas.
“These are the Winter Meetings, and there is a lot of dialogue going on right now,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “Whether things have legs, you will tend to find out in 24 hours or so. If you are not able to get something done here, you can always revisit it in the coming weeks after we leave here. Certainly, there is a little heightened tension to some of these things, trying to find some matches. We have seen a little bit of movement in the free-agent market, which has accelerated some talks for some people. We continue to be engaged on various fronts.”
The White Sox’s approach has mostly been to listen to clubs that are in a more aggressive, competitive mode right now. The Cardinals and Giants aren’t accustomed to having poor seasons, so they’re among the aggressive teams. The Cardinals have missed the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since 2007-’08, and the Giants had the game’s worst record in 2017 after winning three World Series in the previous seven seasons.
Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu aren’t the only players whom the White Sox have received interest about. Leury Garcia, who can play outfield and the middle infield positions, is appealing to teams looking for versatility, speed and a possible lead-off man. He hit .270 with a .316 on-base percentage in 2017.
“I do think the combination of (Shohei) Ohtani and Stanton were holding up a few clubs,” Hahn said. “That would be in the area of things they were looking to do. They now come down here and survey the market. I don’t think one signing or deal has a huge ripple effect. That certainly doesn’t change how we value our players.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.