The Tampa Bay Rays have signed free agent outfielder Avisail Garcia to a one-year, $3.5 million deal, pending a physical, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Garcia was non-tendered by the Chicago White Sox after he underwent knee surgery in November.
Although he is still just 27-years-old, Garcia is a veteran of seven big league campaigns with the White Sox and Detroit Tigers. The Venezuela native is a .271 career hitter with 76 home runs in 2,497 plate appearances.
Garcia has struggled with consistency throughout his career but appeared to finally have a breakout season in 2017 when he finished with a .330 average (2nd in the AL) with 18 home runs and 80 RBI while being named to his first-ever All-Star team. While Garcia would go on to set a career-high in HRs last season (19), his offensive output dropped across the board including avg. (.236), RBI (49) and on-base percentage (.280) while being hampered by knee and hamstring injuries.
It’s unclear where Garcia, a right fielder for most of his career, could end up defensively for the Rays with Tommy Pham and Austin Meadows already entrenched at the corner outfield spots. Garcia has also shown he can be a defensive liability in the field after leading all outfielders in errors in 2017.
Garcia will most likely slide into the right-handed half of a platoon at designated hitter. Garcia owns a .304 career average against left-handed pitching.
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