Omar Narvaez wasn’t the only player who exited the White Sox on Friday.
Not long after the backup catcher was traded to the Mariners for likely closer Alex Colome, the Sox announced they nontendered right fielder Avisail Garcia and designated hitter/infielder Matt Davidson.
The White Sox did agree to a one-year, $1.55 million contract with outfielder Leury Garcia.
Avi Garcia’s departure was the biggest surprise.
An All-Star in 2017, when he finished second in the American League with a .330 batting average, Garcia was limited to 93 games by a knee and hamstring injuries last season.
While he managed to hit a career-high 19 home runs, Garcia’s slash line dipped to .236/.281/.438. The 27-year-old outfielder had right knee surgery right after the regular season ended.
“Obviously, he battled through some injuries last year,” Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “He deserves a world of credit for giving us everything he had on a daily basis. We have not closed the door to Avi possibly being part of the 2019 White Sox. But at this time, we felt it was best for each of us to fully explore our options and do that via free agency.”
While the Sox could have offered Garcia a one-year contract and tried trading him for prospects next season, non-tendering Davidson is not a surprise.
After hitting 3 homers and piling up 5 RBI in the season opener at Kansas City, it was all downhill for Davidson.
He finished the year with a .228/.319/.419 slash line and had 20 home runs and 62 RBI in 123 games. While he drew a career-high 52 walks, Davidson struck out 165 times for the second straight season.
“It really came down to opportunity and the amount of at-bats or plate appearances we see going to someone with his skillset next year is narrowing,” Hahn said. “We are going to want to give those at-bats to other options, in all probability. Additionally, we would like to maintain a little bit more roster versatility going forward.”
Davidson did make three relief appearances in lopsided losses last season, and he was impressive while pitching 3 scoreless innings. Davidson expressed an interested in being a two-way player, but the White Sox never seriously considered using him out of the bullpen on a regular basis.