Garcia among White Sox non-tender options

With rebuild in mind, Chicago could move players

Garcia among White Sox non-tender options

CHICAGO -- The White Sox acquisition of Avisail Garcia as part of a three-team trade with the Tigers and Red Sox on July 30, 2013, stood as the unofficial cornerstone of the team's replenishing-while-contending plan.

More than three years later, Garcia's time with the White Sox could come to an end.

Teams have until 7 p.m. CT on Friday to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players. Third baseman Todd Frazier, 2B Brett Lawrie, RHP Zach Putnam, RHP Jake Petricka, LHP Dan Jennings and RHP Miguel Gonzalez join Garcia in this category. First baseman Jose Abreu also opted into arbitration and out of his three guaranteed years during this offseason.

Garcia becomes a non-tender candidate after hitting .245 with 12 homers, 51 RBIs and 18 doubles in 2016. The 25-year-old opened the season as a designated hitter, a position he did not want on a full-time basis at a somewhat early stage of his career. But the White Sox were not confident enough in his right-field defense to play him there regularly.

Some in the organization still believe in the big talent potential held by Garcia, who hit .319 with a .360 on-base percentage and a .660 slugging percentage to go with his four homers and 10 RBIs in August. He's also hitting .314 with two homers and 10 RBIs over 51 winter ball at-bats. Others in the organization remain frustrated with Garcia's plate approach, featuring a career .310 on-base percentage.

Tendering Garcia could be a possibility with the White Sox talking rebuild. He also could be tendered and eventually part of a trade, much like potential situations involving Frazier, Jennings and even Abreu.

A healthy Putnam and Petricka fit into the White Sox bullpen plan, while Gonzalez is a solid option for the middle or back-end of the rotation. Lawrie, who was acquired last offseason from the A's, hit .248 with 12 homers, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs over 384 plate appearances in '16.

Lawrie played in 94 of the White Sox first 95 games. But he played his last game on July 21, when he exited early in a home game against Detroit because of a tight left hamstring. Lawrie's left knee also gave him trouble, keeping him out of action despite going through an injury rehab assignment with Double-A Birmingham.

Tyler Saladino took over for Lawrie until a back herniation ended his campaign, but Saladino explained this week to how physical therapy not only has helped heal his back but strengthen it. Carlos Sanchez firmly remains in the second-base picture, after hitting .282 with four homers and 17 RBIs while playing virtually every day in September.

"We have to wait and see what they want to do," Saladino said. "Nothing changes on my end of it.

"I would like for them to be able to rely on me as someone that they know what they've got, what I can bring to the table for whatever that may be. If they make some stuff that opens up opportunities or if it's a utility role, I just want to be that reliable player that you need on the roster and that can help get it done."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for since 2003. 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.