White Sox expect Avi to produce at higher level

Outfielder working to become consistent offensive force

White Sox expect Avi to produce at higher level

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- On one hand, Avisail Garcia is 24 years old, has the potential to be a five-tool talent and has played just one full season of Major League Baseball.

The flip side shows a 2015 season featuring Garcia's offensive inconsistency on a team showing the same, meaning that the White Sox have to explore potential outfield change despite having Garcia in place and under control.

Hot Stove Tracker

"Again, as we talked about in the catching situation, we had a comfort level or at least an understanding of what level of performance was likely there [with Tyler Flowers, who was non-tendered]," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn on Monday at the Winter Meetings. "We also saw some upside, as we still do with Avi. At the same time, this is a team that struggled to score runs. So we have to explore any opportunity to improve ourselves.

"There is reason to believe it's going to get better. He worked diligently with [White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson], spent a lot of time with [Jose] Abreu and Melky [Cabrera] working on his offensive approach. And he knows what needs to be done in order for him to reach that next level.

White Sox traveling down all roads seeking upgrades

"Our reports from this offseason are he has been very diligent thus far with his workouts and getting himself in game shape for when he reports into camp," Hahn said. "There certainly is reason to believe we are going to get more out of Avi going forward. At the same time, we are not leaving any stones unturned in terms of getting this club better especially from an offensive standpoint."

Garcia was understandably not in game shape when he fought his way back in August from what was supposed to be 2014 season-ending surgery for a torn labrum and avulsion fracture in his left shoulder in April. He came to 2015 camp in much better physical condition, but, according to Hahn, Garcia let a little bit of that conditioning go over the course of the season.

"He would be the first to admit it," Hahn said. "He knows."

Worth noting

• Willie Harris, who scored the only run in the Game 4 White Sox victory to complete a 2005 World Series sweep of Houston, was in Nashville on Monday to interview for a Minor League coaching position within the organization.

• Yes, the White Sox have two of the game's best starters in Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, not to mention two of the friendliest contracts. It's the White Sox responsibility to evaluate every deal presented, but they aren't looking to subtract this sort of premium talent unless the move addresses multiple needs coming back the other way.

"So we're not closing off any potential opportunities like that," Hahn said. "But at the end of the day, we know how special some of the pitchers in particular we have are and it's our goal to build up around them and celebrate a championship with the White Sox with them on the roster.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.