The White Sox made a roster move earlier today, calling up utility infielder Leury Garcia to take the place of outfielder Blake Tekotte (who was optioned to Charlotte after last night’s game). Garcia was acquired earlier this month as the “player to be named later” in the Alex Rios trade with the Texas Rangers.
In eight games for the Knights since the trade, Garcia was 8-for-30 (.267) with a double, an RBI, and three steals. Overall in AAA, the 22-year-old has hit .265 with four homers, 20 RBI, and 15 steals in 55 games this season. In a brief stint with the Rangers earlier this year (his first big league action of his career), Garcia hit .192 in 25 games.
Many scouts have pegged Garica with the “super-sub” label. He’s pretty much fit that bill since joining the Knights, as he’s played three different positions despite starting every game since joining the club a little over a week ago. Charlotte’s given him five starts at second base, two at shortstop, and one in centerfield. Earlier in the year with the Rangers, Garcia saw time at second, short, and third base.
With Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham firmly entrenched as the team’s starting middle infield, we will likely see Leury Garcia in the utility-man role off the bench and Robin’s first choice as a pinch-runner late in games. After all, his two best tools are his defense and speed, so that’s a role that figures to suit him extremely well. Zach did a terrific breakdown of Leury Garcia in his “Getting to Know the Future Series” last week.
However, Garcia hasn’t shown good plate discipline and really hasn’t flashed any sort of pop throughout his time in the minor leagues, so many believe that a “super-sub” or utility-man role is his MLB calling. What Garcia does with the bat these last few weeks of the season could determine whether or not he has a role with the 2014 team off the bench, or if Alexei Ramirez or Gordon Beckham get traded in the off-season, as a guy who can potentially be a starter.
While Garcia won’t be playing every day up here, we can expect to see him on a somewhat frequent basis, maybe two or three games a week. It’s possible that he could spell one of the three outfielders, but with Jordan Danks up here already, it’s more likely that we see Garcia stick to the three infield positions to the left of first base.
What does that mean for the guys already here? Well, Ramirez and Beckham are safe, but both of those guys have logged a ton of innings the past few months (Ramirez in particular). We’ll likely see them get a bit more rest down the stretch now with a capable defensive replacement like Garcia on the team. That means Jeff Keppinger, who was the main man to spell Beckham at second base, is probably looking at losing at least a small chunk of his playing time. If the White Sox want to see what Garcia can do at third base as well, then Keppinger is looking at losing even more time, along with Conor Gillaspie.
There’s a lot of moving parts here, and it’s suddenly become a crowded infield. While Garcia’s play itself will be the most interesting part of this, it will also be of interest to watch how Robin divvies up the playing time.
Also of note for Garcia, he was called up just in time to face his former team, as the Rangers come into town for a three-game set this weekend (which also features Elvis Night and the Civil Rights Game). Garcia’s probably plenty amped-up to face his old squad, so that will be something to watch for as well.
With the White Sox out of contention, the likely goal of the organization the rest of the way is to target what players that can see being a part of the 2014 team and beyond. Garcia’s promotion signals that Hahn and company see him as a potential piece to the puzzle. If anything, that gives us another reason to watch this last-place team.