Most Augusts, the White Sox have plenty of teams in their way when it comes to the waiver claim order.
This year? Not so much, but at least it makes paperwork easier to process.
The White Sox officially announced the acquisition of Leury Garcia in the Alex Rios trade on Sunday afternoon. He was originally a player to be named later because the Rangers hadn't passed him through waivers at the time they were haggling for Rios.
Turns out he was a player to be named relatively quickly. He only needed to get past the Houston Astros for the Sox to finish their business, and even if the Astros had an inkling to claim him, they probably knew it wouldn't have done them any good (and Garcia's not the kind of player worth being a jerk about). So for one reason or another, the Sox were able to close the book on the trade.
The read on Garcia is unanimous -- he's got the goods at shortstop with skills that transfer elsewhere, and he's about as fast as they get, but you can knock the bat out of his hands because he's small guy (5'7" according to all sources except the White Sox press release, which says he's 5'10"), and has a long swing.
Throw in the fact that he's a switch-hitter, and he seems to me like he's a Fun House Mirror Eduardo Escobar -- the same noteworthy features and flaws, but exaggerated to absurd proportions (Adam Morris at Lone Star Ball vouches for the "fun" part).
The White Sox are starting him in Charlotte, but we could see him in Chicago when rosters expand on Sept. 1 if it makes sense, if not before.
Rick Hahn described to reporters the task that lies ahead:
"Even if the bat doesn’t quite develop to reach his maximum upside, he has some value on big league club," Hahn said. "Then it would be about figuring out the best way to use it. ... I don’t know if that’s fair to say (his offense is) behind. You are dealing with a 22-year-old kid who has been blessed with plus tools in speed and defense. He’s making some adjustments, cutting down length of swing, becoming more consistent with keeping ball out of air and on the ground and line drives, which is common for a young kid. If he makes those adjustments, we could very well have quality middle infielder."
If Garcia does get the call, he should know the drill (although it may be more dour in Chicago). He spent the first 2½ months of the season on Texas' bench. He played sparingly and hit that way, too -- 191/.236/.231 with 16 strikeouts over 57 plate appearances.
Since returning to Triple-A Round Rock, he's hit .264/.314/.409 with 12 steals and 53 strikeouts in 47 games. That strikeout total seems ... problematic ... for a guy that short, so that'll be one thing to watch over the next few weeks ahead in Charlotte.
Another thing to keep an eye on: Where will he play? Marcus Semien has made all 11 of his Triple-A starts at shortstop, which is notable since he bounced around the infield at Birmingham. He even bumped Carlos Sanchez from short to second base.
Sanchez is on the disabled list for at least a few more days, so second base will be open. If and when Sanchez returns, Garcia could also get reps in center field, which has been a patchwork job since Blake Tekotte and Dewayne Wise vacated the premises, and Brent Morel may be counting down the days at third. Then again, perhaps Garcia will usurp Sanchez and/or Semien for days at a time, forcing both players to play out of their natural positions. With possible call-ups on the horizon, who plays where may be as interesting as how they perform.