The Chicago White Sox announced that they have claimed outfielder Willy Garcia from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Garcia was designated for assignment on December 31st to make room on the 40-man roster for pitcher Ivan Nova.

Garcia was once a highly touted prospect in the system despite high strikeout numbers. That was due to his age and tools, which included the best outfield arm in the system and above average raw power. The Pirates signed him in 2010 for $280,000 and added him to the 40-man roster two years ago. He was ranked 20th in the farm system coming into 2016, but he had a very difficult season and dropped out of consideration for our top 50 in the 2017 prospect guide even before he was designated for assignment. He failed to make our mid-season top 50, ending up in the “just missed” category, but he fell from that group as well when we compiled the rankings for the guide.

Part of his fall in the rankings came from diminished tools. He used to have decent speed, but he has clearly lost a step or two over the years. While the arm is as strong as ever, the defense wasn’t as strong overall, mostly due to declining range. Garcia continued to have strikeout issues this year and he ended up with just six home runs. When he tried to hit for more average and cut down on the strikeouts, he became a singles hitter. When he started swinging for fences, the strikeouts increased and the average dropped. Garcia has never shown the ability to be patient at the plate, which has resulted in low walk totals every season. He’s now 24 years old, with just one option remaining and he is coming off a very poor performance (.462 OPS) in winter ball as well.

The Pirates will open the Triple-A season with Austin Meadows, Barrett Barnes, Jose Osuna and free agent signing Eury Perez, who at 26 already has four partial seasons in the majors. So they have outfield depth to replace Garcia, who would have used a third option this season, since he is not Major League ready at this point. Unless he makes a huge turnaround in his new setting, it’s unlikely his upside now is anything more than a depth outfield option.

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42 COMMENTS

  1. There’s two ways of looking at getting rid of Supak. Neither is good. 1. Neal gave up a high draft choice one year after being drafted that high for a guy that we were able to get through waivers. 2. Neal can’t draft for crap.

    • Or:
      3. Neil wanted options at 1B / 3B with Pedro out the door and Kang coming back from injury. This Rogers deal was made before signing Jaso and Freese, who are better options than Rogers. But at the time Neil made the deal he didn’t know that he would be able to acquire Jaso or Freese. I have no problem with the deal, other than Rogers played poorly in 2016, taking a step back from his 2015 performance. But then the Pirates had a lot of higher profile players take a step back in 2016 as well.

      • Missing the forest through the trees.

        Jason Rogers failed. He was not a Major League-quality baseball player. Not to the Pirates, and now not to any of the other 29 baseball clubs. That fact has nothing to do with timing and other acquisitions. If Rogers could plays, value could be extracted one way or another. He can’t, leaving absolutely zero redeeming qualities to the trade.

  2. Garcia claimed, which was no surprise…he is still young and has a lot of physical upside. Look at some of the junk on our 40 man that we chose to protect and DFA Garcia instead. I’m not saying that Garcia will ever amount to anything, but he has more upside than 4 or 5 others on the 40 man.

    Rogers not claimed….what does that tell you about the guy we traded Broxton and Supak for? NH is not exactly a shrewd trader or great judge of talent, based on most of his trades. He exudes no sense of confidence.

    • Broxton was out of options and the Pirates were going to lose him one way or another. Supak (sounds like a bar in Etna) is another story altogether – for the Pirates to be anxious to move him he must have pissed somebody off in the Pitching Coach hierarchy.

      • This is exactly why I’ve pushed Tim and John for more info every time they float the “rival scouts claim the Pirates soured on Supak” or whatever. I mean, does that not beg a follow up? Soured how? It almost HAS to be about makeup, right? This is the org that let all those awful ’09 overslot arms stick around until the bitter end along with the Billy Roth’s and Neil Kozikowski’s that have been drafted since, but gave up on Supak before his first year of full-season ball after cutting his walk rate significantly in his second run through Rookie League? None of that has ever made any sense.

        I don’t presume to know their relationship with these sources, but it must be weak.

        • It has hair all over it – similar to Morton/Whitehead after Morton abandoned the changes made to try to reduce his chance of injury, and that veteran LHSP a few years ago who was unloaded after he decided he was not going to follow the Benedict/Searage mantra.

          It is very serious business, and I am glad they make the basic guidelines so clear and concise for the pitchers. I wish other aspects of the ballclub were run that way.

          • That’s quite an odd remembrance of the Charlie Morton situation, who most certainly *did* take the the changes suggested leading to that absolute implosion against the Phillies in the final exhibition before Opening Day causing him to tear down and build back up his old mechanics with Benedict in Extended.

            Charlie listened, but the instruction was just wrong. They tried, just didn’t work.

            I’ll also differ on whether or not this kind of handling is a good thing. Even if there were perceived issues, you’re still talking about an 18 yo kid and Milwaukee sure seems to be doing just fine with him. After the Hoka Hey bullshit, I’m not for a second going to give these guys the benefit of the doubt.

            • Supak in itself was a bit much I thought but Morton was not only a performance issue but a salary dump as well. They could have gotten a bag of used balls back and they would have tried to justify it as somebody that they really had interest in and thought they could help.

      • That’s a bunch of crap….Broxton could have been a good 4th outfielder in Pittsburgh and Supak was a second round pick the year before. Stop making excuses for a dumb trade.

      • Not that it really matters, but iirc, broxton had an option used this past season in Milwaukee so he wasn’t out of options. In fact I think we only put him on the 40 man the year before in 2015. I think he still has an option this upcoming season too. But I’m not so sure he would have done what he did in Milwaukee here as a Bucco. His first month or so was atrocious. He was batting under .100 for a minute there with almost 50% k rate. We wouldn’t have had the patience for him here

        • I appreciate the info. Broxton was dead in the water in Pittsburgh with younger, better OF talent in the system. We have seen the depth of the OF talent with our willingness to trade guys like Ramirez and Polo even after trading Broxton.

          Did the Pirates draft Broxton? Nope – excellent pick-up by NH for cash from the D’backs in 2014. He became a solid hitter for average and power in 2014 and 2015, but his undoing was his number of K’s.

          The Pirates System is very deep, therefore the skill level is strong throughout. Other teams with lesser developmental quality can take our cast-offs and get contributions.

          • This seems awfully short-sighted, spoken in an offseason where Austin Meadows could ostensibly land them a top line starting pitcher with four years of control, but the complete and total lack of outfield prospects remaining in the system makes that infeasible.

            Broxton was a failure in coaching and development. No reason to believe the Pirates wouldve made the swing adjustments the Brewers suggested and resulted in the massive improvement upon being recalled. I don’t blame Huntington for moving on, but they sure as hell could use him right now if the development staff had been as successful as the Brewers.

    • I’m glad someone else noticed that NH has no confidence. Every time I see him interviewed on TV he is always looking at the ground and mumbling his answers. When they show him walking anywhere, he just seems to stumble along with no energy. I’m no psychiatrist, but he sure looks like he suffers from low self-esteem and depression. I hope he is seeing a therapist.

  3. Do you think their signing of Geovanny Soto means that Diaz would no longer be part of a Quintana package?

    • Are you asking me? No, I don’t believe one would have anything to do with the other. They are both possibly the same player, but catching depth is always something worth having.

    • I hope not- we can’t afford to give up Diaz anymore than we can afford to give up Meadows in my opinion due to the lack of catching depth behind a very injury plagued starting catcher. Diaz is the only option we HAVE if Cervelli goes down, and I still think Diaz is better. I’d rather trade Cervelli in that deal.

      • You had me agreeing, right up until you said you would rather trade Cervelli. The depth is so bad they cant afford to trade either.

        • Oh I agree- but if you are going to trade one, you trade the one that’s old and makes more money……..

            • Disagree- What did Cervelli do last year that helped us win? Saving that money on cervelli allows us to spend it elsewhere NOW

              • He was not the reason they lost. If he would be the key piece in a trade I would trade him in a heartbeat for Quintana. Pitching is more important than catching. However, he makes the whole pitching staff better. That has value.

                • ….I didn’t say he was the reason we lost, I asked what did he do that helped us win? As far as I can see, he got paid a fair amount to provide about as much value as Jeff Locke. I don’t really see how he makes the whole pitching staff better as compared to Diaz, because you can’t really have that comparison yet- heck I don’t even think you can give Cervelli much value there since we had one good year with our pitching staff and one not-so-good year.

              • I believe that all prospects are suspects until proven otherwise. Id rather see Diaz as the back up next year (17-18 season) to Cervelli. I don’t want to trade either one. Prior to Martin the Pirates catching situation was awful. The Pirates cant afford to pay for a good FA catcher, if there even is one available.

                • I believe that players that have injury issues are also suspects. If Diaz’s arm is recovered (and there is no reason to think it hasn’t) he is better defensively than Cervelli. If Cervelli’s gap power isn’t back (and with a hamate bone it probably won’t be till midseason) then Diaz is unlikely to be much worse with the bat. I don’t want to trade either one EITHER, I’m just saying if we have to include one to get Quintana, you keep the younger, better defender with less injury concerns and less payroll, it’s common sense.

      • NH only deals from positions of strength in the system..unlesssss…it allows us to shed some salary. Tip of the cap to you Mr. Huntington, feel like you didn’t think that whole McGuire thing through.

    • Quintana is not happening, unless you are okay with trading 3 out of a list of Meadows, Glasnow, Bell, and Newman.

    • I doubt geovany soto is viewed as more than just a stopgap at the catcher position for a year or two so it shouldnt influence any feelings about diaz in a quintana package. I also have my doubts that the bucs would have much desire to move diaz as the rest of their catching prospects all have significant hurdles to overcome in order to be viable everyday mlb options.

    • Probably has to do with two holidays for MLB at Christmas and New Years. It’s usually ten days, but it appears they don’t count days they close up shop. There will be an article when we find out something.

      • I like what WTM said on BD:

        It’s pretty obvious by now that Jason Rogers was lost in the Bermuda Triangle has cleared waivers. He was dfa’d over a week before Garcia. Even if the Pirates didn’t bother announcing anything, a team claiming him surely would have made some sort of announcement about it, unless they didn’t want to admit it for some reason.

        • If it’s still ten days and they don’t count holidays, then we would hear something definite by tomorrow. Latest minor league updates from today don’t have anything. Garcia being claimed first doesn’t guarantee anything with Rogers. He’s probably remaining, which would be a good thing, since he’s one year removed from being a nice bench piece and won’t take up a 40-man spot. That’s nice depth to have, and what the Pirates try to do with players each off-season.

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