The Athletics are searching for a right-handed outfield bat this offseason and have interest in White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Shea adds that Oakland will transition left fielder Khris Davis into a heavier DH role in 2018.
Garcia, 26, broke out in a big way this past year. In his first five big league seasons, Garcia slashed a paltry .258/.310/.385 with below-average defense, and was a non-tender candidate last offseason. Garcia was tendered, however, and the decision payed off for Chicago. Garcia batted .330/.380/.506 in 561 PAs, maintaining an impressive level of offensive production throughout the year that many deemed unsustainable early on.
The Athletics currently have two left-handed bats in Matt Joyce and Boog Powell lined up in right and center field, respectively. As Davis moves out of left field, in-house options to replace the slugger are uninspiring: both Chad Pinder and Renato Nuñez spent time on the big league roster in 2017, though neither produced an OPS+ above 100. Dustin Fowler, acquired from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray blockbuster, might not be ready to return to a full-time role in the outfield by Opening Day.
The Athletics were linked to Miami outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna earlier this week, though a deal with the Marlins may be delayed by the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes. Ozuna and Yelich will likely cost the Athletics more prospect value than they are willing to deal, making Garcia a solid fall-back option. The Venezuelan outfielder is under team control for the next two seasons, and would fit nicely into a left-handed heavy Athletics lineup.
With the White Sox in rebuilding mode, general manager Rick Hahn has expressed a willingness to move Garcia should a deal benefit the future of the club. Garcia will enter his second year of arbitration this winter, and is under team control through 2019. The sample size of success for Garcia is still relatively small, and with his value at an all-time high, the White Sox should be open to dealing the 2017 All-Star.
The Athletics and White Sox have matched up on a few trades in recent memory, the most notable being a 2014 Winter Meetings shocker that sent starter Jeff Samardzija to the South Side for a prospect package including Marcus Semien and Josh Phegley.