Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Rays finalize signing of Avisail Garcia

Former White Sox, Tigers outfielder gets $3.5 million salary, plus incentives.
Former Chicago White Sox OF Avisail Garcia takes a lead at first base against the Minnesota Twins in a game Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in Minneapolis. [AP Photo | Jim Mone]
Published Jan. 18
Updated Jan. 19

ST. PETERSBURG – Avisail Garcia is confident the disappointing dropoff in production from his 2017 All-Star performance to last season was the residual of a significant hamstring strain and ongoing right knee issues.

So with his hamstring healed, his knee surgically repaired in early October and the resulting bad habits eradicated from his swing, Garcia is confident he can return to his old form with his new Rays team.

“One hundred percent,’’ Garcia said Friday night, after his deal for $3.5 million, plus up to $2.5 million of plate-appearance based incentives, was finalized. “For sure. I know what I can do. I know my swing. I’ve just got to be healthy and ready to go. And that’s how I am right now.’’

Garcia, 27, was non-tendered by the White Sox after making $6.7 million for an inconsistent 2018 showing in which he hit a career high 19 homers but posted only a .236 average, .719 OPS and 0.3 WAR while limited to 93 games.

“I was fighting the whole season with injuries, up and down, up and down,’’ he said. “You know how it is when you play with pain; sometimes you feel good and sometimes you don’t.''

In 2017, Garcia, whose first name is pronounced ah-vee-sigh-EEL, hit .330 (second in the AL) with 18 homers, .885 OPS and 4.6 WAR.

A righty hitter, Garcia is expected to play rightfield or DH against lefthanded pitchers, against whom he has a career .304 average and .816 OPS, and compete for playing time vs. some righthanders, already working on hitting more to right-center. His outfield play has gotten mixed reviews though he has a strong arm.

Garcia, a Venezuelan who lives in Miami, said he was excited to join the Rays because they “are a competitive team, they play hard, they are close to my home.’’

Garcia gets $250,000 for logging 350 plate appearances, and another $250,000 for every 50 after that up to 600 for a potential total of $1.5 million. If he makes 650 plate appearances, which he has never reached in his first seven big-league seasons, he would get another $1 million.

To create a roster space, the Rays, for the second time this off-season, designated for assignment RHP Oliver Drake.

Drake, who pitched for a single-season record five teams in 2018 (Brewers, Indians, Angels, Blue Jays, Twins), was claimed off waivers from the Twins Nov. 1, then DFA’d Nov. 20. The Blue Jays claimed him, then turned around and DFA’d him Dec. 30, and the Rays re-acquired him for cash considerations on Jan. 4.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash talks with reporters in the dugout the day after clinching a playoff spot. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Former Ray Rocco Baldelli wins top honors after his first season with the Twins.
  2. Erik Neander, Tampa Bay Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager, addresses the media during a press conference at Tropicana Field Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 in St. Petersburg. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Award came from a vote of team executives; Yankees Cashman was second.
  3. Flanked by his mother, Michelle Alonso, left, father Peter Alonso (blue shirt, standing), girlfriend Haley Walsh, right, and friends, New York Mets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso, 24, reacts as he finds out he has won the National League Rookie of the Year award on Monday at his home in Tampa.  Alonso, a Plant High graduate, made a grand entrance to the big leagues, hitting a major-league rookie and team-record 53 home runs for the Mets. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The easiest part of the day for the travel-weary first baseman may have been receiving the prestigious award.
  4. Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash speaks at a news conference before an Oct. 1 American League wild-card game practice in Oakland, Calif. JEFF CHIU  |  AP
    Marc Topkin: The Twins Rocco Baldelli and Yankees Aaron Boone are the other two finalists for the hard-to-define award.
  5. Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe (8) is showered with sunflower seeds after hitting a solo homer in the fourth inning against the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the American League Division Series Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 in St. Petersburg. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Former Plant High and Florida star Pete Alonso a favorite for NL Rookie of the Year, to be announced Monday
  6. Erik Neander, Tampa Bay Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager, says of the general manager meetings, which start this week, "We’d love to find a way to score a lot more runs without sacrificing run prevention.'' DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Rays Tales: Erik Neander says 2019 success provides “a stronger starting point” than they have had in a while. Plus, rumblings.
  7. Manager Kevin Cash has led the Rays to back-to-back seasons of 90 or more victories. He finished third in the American League Manager of the Year voting in 2018 and is one of three finalists again this year with the winner being announced on Tuesday. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    John Romano: His profile is as low as Tampa Bay’s payroll, but AL Manager of the Year candidate Kevin Cash consistently gets the most out of the Rays.
  8. ALLIE GOULDING   |   Times
Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro (33) talks to umpire Bruce Dreckman at the bottom of the fourth inning against Texas Rangers on Sunday, June 30, 2019 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. 
 ALLIE GOULDING  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The other finalists, per a report, are Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.
  9. Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash (16) pumps his fist while walking onto the field just prior to taking on the Houston Astros for Game 3 of the American League Division Series in St. Petersburg. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Charlie Morton is in the top 3 for the Cy Young Award and Brandon Lowe for Rookie of the Year honors as well.
  10. Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash (16) smiles in the dugout just prior to the Rays taking on the Houston Astros in Game 2 of the American League Division Series Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019 in Houston. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Manager Kevin Cash seems to have the best chance to be among the top three for the four major awards.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement