Home » Articles » White Sox emerging depth makes Leury Garcia expendable

White Sox emerging depth makes Leury Garcia expendable

by Tim Moran

I miss the old Leury Garcia. The 2019-2021 Leury Garcia. The clutch playoff homer-hitting Leury Garcia. The serviceable, smiling, pinch-hitting Leury Garcia.

Alright, that’s a bit misleading, as we all know Leury was never really an impact player for the White Sox. However, case in point, Leury was a respectable depth piece for the Chicago White Sox between 2015 and 2021. Things took a massive turn for the worse last season, though, as the 31-year-old (32 in a couple of weeks) was arguably the worst hitter in baseball. In fact, by wRC+, which is an effective measure of total offensive value, Garcia was literally the worst player in baseball (39 wRC+, min. 300 PA). His final slash line read .210/.233/.267, good for an OPS of – drum roll please – .500!

Every player will have down seasons, but such a drastic downturn in production combined with age considerations should warrant a willingness for White Sox management to at least try new things. It would be a tough sell, as White Sox GM Rick Hahn inked Garcia to a three-year, $16.5 million contract through 2024 before last season. However, note that the Sox boasted their financial toughness by swallowing most of Dallas Keuchel‘s $19.5 million owed upon cutting him in May 2022 —thus, there should be little hesitancy to eat even less now.

Watching games and clips of the clubhouse, it’s clear that Leury is a likable teammate. So, while a release of the utility man may not please too many players initially, such a move is starting to look necessary for Rick Hahn and Pedro Grifol. That’s not just because of Leury’s capabilities or lack thereof, but rather, because viable replacement options are surfacing.

Garcia’s calling card is certainly his defensive versatility, which is precisely why his days may be numbered — multiple infield pieces can play three positions, while the system also features intriguing outfield players. Grifol has a mix of young guys and veterans in this depth group, so any age preference one way leaves no advantage to Garcia.

Let’s break down the potential names that could serve as replacements for Leury Garcia.

Romy Gonzalez or Lenyn Sosa

I was personally unimpressed with Romy Gonzalez in his time with the White Sox, while of course acknowledging the broken-up major league stints and fairly small sample size. Yet the 26-year-old still managed to be twice the offensive player Garcia was, with better defense as well.

Lenyn Sosa was a similar story, turning heads with his impressive play in the minors before struggling in very limited time with the major league club. He is just 23 but actually has played slightly more minor league games than Gonzalez, including more Triple-A contests. Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization’s fourth-best prospect, Sosa has made a strong case with his .821 OPS in 2022 Triple-A to prove his worth in the bigs with a consistent roster spot.

As alluded to, both Sosa and Gonzalez have experience at three or more positions, so they can confidently handle the super-utility role. Overall, both young players look better than Garcia and project to improve over their next few seasons, while Garcia seems unlikely to turn things around drastically in the eleventh season of his career.

The only explanation for favoring Garcia over Gonzalez or Sosa would be that the latter two could possibly use more time to develop in the minors. I don’t fully buy it, as Gonzalez is 26 and Garcia has been playing pro ball since 2017. Sure, it would be nice to give them more plate appearances in Charlotte than have them sit most days in Chicago, but there comes a time when your only chance to move forward is simply as a bench player in the majors.

If Hahn and Co. still feel both players have things to learn in the minors, then fine. Even then, I would imagine such a stint would last no longer than 30 or 40 games, and Garcia’s time should then be up.

Or, even better, the next option, who’s played in the major leagues for seven seasons, has an argument to take Garcia’s job before Opening Day.

Hanser Alberto

Alberto’s career arc is very similar to Garcia’s, but the bottom line is he is slightly younger and projects to be slightly better. Between 2019 and 2021, Alberto amassed 3.0 fWAR across 242 games played, which is a respectable mark for a prospective backup. Similar to Garcia though, he struggled mightily last season with a .623 OPS and -0.5 fWAR in 73 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers. This past offseason, the White Sox inked him to a minor-league deal.

Flash forward to this spring, however, and Alberto is turning heads in White Sox camp. Although the sample size is incredibly small, he’s gone 8-17 with a walk, good for a 1.265 OPS. Notably, Alberto can play three infield positions, with hundreds of games played at second and third base, 25 games played at shortstop, and even a few outfield appearances.

I would prefer to have better depth options on my bench than Alberto, certainly. But at the minimum, he projects better than Garcia in almost every aspect of the game. If Garcia performs as his 2022 self to start the year, and Sosa/Gonzalez are off the table for whatever reason, Alberto seems worth a try.

Outfield Options

“But Garcia also adds outfield depth!” Good thing the White Sox have a few superior options to roam the grass as well.

Behind Andrew Benintendi, Luis Robert, Oscar Colas, and the regrettable fielding appearance from Eloy Jimenez or Gavin Sheets, the major league depth chart looks alarmingly thin. Thankfully, Rick Hahn signed three decent outfield options to minor league deals this winter to fill that gap by Opening Day — Jake Marisnick, Victor Reyes, and Billy Hamilton.

Echoing my thoughts on Alberto, I’d rather avoid any of these players taking at-bats in crunch time. However, they all present as a superior backup outfielder option to Garcia.

Marisnick is the most well-rounded of the bunch, registering positive-fWAR seasons for the past nine seasons due to stellar defense and tolerable offense. He managed an 80 wRC+ and 0.5 fWAR in 31 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2022 At 31 years old, he should be a respectable fourth outfielder for the South Siders.

Reyes was a worthy flyer signing, as he is only 28 years old with a few mediocre campaigns under his belt. Before significant struggles in 2022, he posted wRC+ marks of 101, 94, and 89 in the prior three seasons, showing he has the potential to be a near-league-average hitter. Then there’s Hamilton, whose value is declining as Father Time catches up to his speedy legs, but would still be a far better defensive replacement than Garcia could ever be.

Case in point, Garcia has no argument to get outfield innings over any of these three players.

What Next?

I’m not here to say that the White Sox should cut Garcia today. As mentioned previously, last season was an anomaly compared to his career—truly awful compared to just bad. However, the leash needs to be extremely, extremely short at this point.

If Grifol, Getz, and Hahn all feel that Sosa or Gonzalez have graduated from minor league playing time, they need to assume Garcia’s role on Opening Day. Similarly, if Garcia starts off 2023 with a bad couple of weeks, it should be next man up without hesitation.

Any reasonable excuse to roster an underperforming Leury Garcia in 2023 is now out the window, and the White Sox need to act like it, starting today.

Follow us @SoxOn35th for more throughout the season!

Featured Image: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Garcia will most likely break with the team at the end of spring training. He is favorite of the organization. With what is remaining on that contract, I do not see the Sox cutting ties until July at the earliest. And, if it does happen.


Garcia will be on the opening day roster and there are $11 million reasons why that will happen. Plus, he is a favorite of the owner and Williams. That alone negates his release, for now.

They might be pull a Keuchel, but not until mid / end of season at best.


If the new manager is not a YES man, and if Garcia’s 2023 mirrors 2022, Leury will be gone. Nicely written and analyzed Tim Moran.

Peter W. Kocsis

Garcia is pitiful. Hope they don’t play that has been. There is considerable more depth at that position now. He’s an automatic out. Get rid of him.
On a different note, Billy Hamilton was a very good signing. Much potential there.


Billy Hamilton is worthless too, can’t hit for anything, defense is suspect at best, yes he has made a couple of great plays but so has everyone else and i can remember more bad plays than good other than average plays.. His only plus may be pinch running. That could be helpful down the stretch and the playoffs but in my opinion detrimental to have him take a roster spot for the whole year.

Jim in Maine

As Hawk would say, “He gone” …may as well be sooner then later.

Peter W. Kocsis

Nailed it!!!

You may also like