The White Sox might have a super utility man on their hands after they acquired infielder Leury Garcia from the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
The player to be named later in a deal that sent Alex Rios to Texas on Friday, Garcia, 22, has been assigned to Triple-A Charlotte.
Garcia plays everywhere in the infield except first base and has seen time in center field. He possesses 80 speed on the 20-80 scouting scale and a 70 arm, per Baseball America. Garcia also has enough of a glove to be an everyday shortstop but was blocked in the minors by Texas’ top prospect, Jurickson Profar. He could also figure in as a second baseman, too.
“There’s a possibility he winds up in a super utility role,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “He has the defensive ability to be an everyday shortstop or second baseman. It’s going to come down how much he hits ultimately to dictate his role.”
The 5-foot-7-inch, 160-pound player has 155 steals in six seasons in the minors.
A switch-hitter, Garcia needs to develop at the plate. He has a .261 average in the minors and only hit .192 in 57 plate appearances with Texas this season.
Per Baseball America, “Garcia has the power to drive the ball into the gaps but his swing tends to get too big.” Texas wanted to see Garcia emphasize “bunting, hitting the ball on the ground and working walks to take maximum advantage of his terrific speed.”
Hahn said Garcia has been sent to Charlotte in order to give him the opportunity to play every day. The White Sox have no questions he’s ready to contribute defensively and with his speed.
But they’d like him to further develop his bat.
“Even if the bat doesn’t quite develop to reach his maximum upside, he has some value on big league club,” Hahn said. “Then it would be about figuring out the best way to use it. ... I don’t know if that’s fair to say (his offense is) behind. You are dealing with a 22-year-old kid who has been blessed with plus tools in speed and defense. He’s making some adjustments, cutting down length of swing, becoming more consistent with keeping ball out of air and on the ground and line drives, which is common for a young kid. If he makes those adjustments, we could very well have quality middle infielder.”
The White Sox could recall Garcia before Sep. 1 if a need arose, Hahn said. He wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a promotion when rosters expand to 40.
Hahn said the White Sox considered letting Rios go to the Rangers on waivers and without receiving anything in return but hoped to get something back.
“We had the chance to let Alex go and let them take his full contract,” Hahn said. “We felt like we wanted to get a player like Garcia as part of the deal, so we negotiated with Texas to make it work.”