BOSTON -- He’s about to come off the disabled list, but Avisail Garcia wants to be here a lot longer than just the end of the season.
The White Sox outfielder was good in spirits on Saturday afternoon after he took batting practice for the first time a day earlier. The two fingers on his right hand that had bothered him have improved enough for Garcia to have fun during a pregame media session. On the DL retroactive to July 26, Garcia is eager to resume a breakout season in which he’s hitting .303/.347/.485 with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs in 363 plate appearances.
Given how he’s played and the two years of team control he has left, Garcia could be another trade candidate this offseason for the rebuilding White Sox. But the 26-year-old Garcia would like to stay with the White Sox when things turn around.
“I mean, yeah, why not?” Garcia said. “I feel part of it. But you know this is baseball. You don’t know what’s going to happen. I want to stay here. I want my career here. So, if I can play 15 or 20 years or 10 years or five more years, it’s going to be great. Let’s see what happens. I want to stay here for sure.”
The White Sox have hoped for Garcia to live up to his top-75 prospect potential since they acquired him in July 2013 in a three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston. Garcia performed well as a rookie with the White Sox in 2013, but produced at a .250/.308/.380 clip and averaged 11 homers and 46 RBIs in 105 games between 2014-16.
There’s a chance Garcia could have been finished with the White Sox had they gone the other direction this season and tried to contend. Instead, the team went full steam ahead into a rebuild and has traded nine players off the 25-man roster since December. Garcia has taken advantage of the opportunity and last month was named to the American League All-Star team. One of the reason Garcia would like to stay with the White Sox is to reward them for their patience.
“For sure,” Garcia said. “I appreciate that. That’s why I came here early and do my work every time and be professional play hard and try to give the White Sox everything I got every day. Hustle every day and that’s part of the game, part of me. Just trying to do my best for the team.”
What Garcia’s future holds with the White Sox could be determined this offseason. Garcia, who’s earning $3 million this season, has two years of arbitration eligibility left.
If he were to finish the season strong, Garcia could potentially have trade value for a front office that has been looking to wheel and deal for eight months. The White Sox also may consider trying to extend Garcia and keep him around for the future. Or, the White Sox could simply re-sign Garcia and see if he can backup his 2017 performance before making a determination on his future.