The same day that our own Hector Rodriguez lamented the Marlins’ lack of offseason activity, news broke Sunday afternoon that they have a four-year, $53 million deal in place with free agent outfielder Avisaíl García (first reported by SportsGrid’s Craig Mish). The timing is not a coincidence: the Fish have three days to complete his physical and make it official before an MLB lockout is expected to begin.
García was believed to be on the Marlins’ radar during 2019-20 free agency, too. His performance during two seasons with the Brewers was pretty much as advertised (.255/.331/.444, 105 wRC+, 3.6 fWAR in 188 G). Playing the majority of 2021 at age 30, he established new career highs in home runs (29), walks (38) and barrel rate (12.2%). Using Statcast data, Baseball Savant estimates that 26 of those 29 long balls would’ve cleared the fences at LoanDepot Park.
García turned down his end of a $12 million mutual option to test the market. At that point, the Brewers still could have extended a one-year qualifying offer to him, but decided not to. That allows the Marlins to sign him without forfeiting any 2022 MLB Draft picks.
The Marlins will be García’s fifth major league organization—he started out with the Tigers, White Sox and Rays before signing with Milwaukee. As Daniel Álvarez of El Extrabase mentioned last week on Fish Stripes Unfiltered, he had already made South Florida his offseason home.
García offers more game power than old friend/new Met Starling Marte plus he’s 32 months younger. However, he has less agility and bat-to-ball skills, and although he can handle center field in emergency situations, it isn’t his primary position, hence a contract that guarantees $25 million less than Marte’s. As of 7:00 p.m. ET, Marte and Marcus Semien (seven years, $175 million from the Rangers) are the only MLB free agent position players who have reportedly received larger deals than García.
On Saturday, Jon Heyman of MLB Network insisted that the Marlins were in pursuit of Nick Castellanos. This pick-up likely closes the book on that, barring a shocking trade of Jesús Sánchez. Instead, expect the club to focus on upgrading at catcher and center field.
Hector Rodriguez and Fish Stripes Twitter follower @joefranks86 correctly predicted that the Marlins would sign García.
There is—for now—a heavily Venezuelan presence in the Marlins clubhouse as García joins forces with Miguel Rojas (who was quick to endorse the move), Pablo López, Jesús Aguilar and Elieser Hernandez. Let’s see how many of his countrymen remain in Miami once the dust settles on the club’s winter moves.
The $53 million dollar contract to Garcia is now the biggest contract given out by Miami under the Ownership group of Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. Once Sandy Alcantara’s deal is done they will have committed over $100 million dollars in payroll this offseason. Far from done.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) November 28, 2021
The Marlins 40-man roster is currently full, so they must make a corresponding move before announcing the García signing.
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