Hahn not sure when next roster move will be after Sox bring back Garcia on 3-year deal
If this was the White Sox's last roster move for days, weeks or months, they picked a deserving guy.
Infielder/outfielder Leury Garcia, the Sox's longest tenured player, agreed to a three-year, $16.5 million contract Wednesday.
Acquired in the 2013 trade that sent outfielder Alex Rios to Texas, Garcia is a .261/.304/.367 hitter in nine seasons with the White Sox. He's hoping to play out the contract and make it a dozen years.
"The White Sox are like my second home," Garcia said. "Just the way they treated us, I feel very comfortable here. My family feels very comfortable with the organization. It was a no-brainer for us to sign back here."
More important than being a steady bat, the 30-year-old Garcia has played all three outfield spots as well as second base, shortstop and third during his long run with the Sox.
"The last four to five years, I've been trying to keep the same routine during my offseason," he said. "Basically, I dedicate a day to each position, working on them and trying to get ready for whatever the needs arise during the season. Be ready to play that position."
Last season, Garcia played a long stretch in left field for the injured Eloy Jimenez, a long stretch in center for the injured Luis Robert and a long stretch at second for the injured Nick Madrigal.
"I think we all witnessed the benefit of having Leury's flexibility and proficiency at a variety of different roles on the roster last season," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "Obviously, it wasn't exactly how we drew it up in '21, but I think he played a key role in plugging the holes that unexpectedly arose along the way. "Frankly, I don't think we were in as good a spot winning the division last year without Leury.
"Having him around provides that similar flexibility for us and coverage for whatever may unexpectedly arise going forward. We're glad to have the Legend back."
With the Collective Bargaveining Agreement expiring Wednesday night, Hahn's not sure when baseball will be back up and running and the Sox's next move will be announced.
"I think I'm going to leave the overall labor stuff to people with the league," Hahn said. "Obviously, we're just focusing on making the White Sox better. I will say that there are only a few of us on this Zoom who remember what it was like back in the (19)80s and '90s, obviously it's been a multi-decade run with labor peace, which has been incredible, and a testament to both sides being able to get something done.
"I think everyone remains hopeful that at some point there will be an agreement that doesn't impact the 2022 season."
Adding Garcia and free-agent relief pitcher Kendall Graveman on a three-year, $24 million contract are solid moves for the Sox, but there are the usual outraged critics on social media upset they haven't done more.
"We all are fundamentally fans and you need, in these positions, I think you do need occasionally to take a step back and take a 30,000-foot view of where you are as an organization and where you're trying to get to," Hahn said. "We all get excited by that notion of a splashy big-name move and, quite frankly, we like to chase that and see where things line up.
"At the same time, you can't lose sight of the fact that we've got a (darn) good team, that we are in position to contend for a championship next year and beyond by what we've been able to do over the last several years. We've got MVP and Silver Slugger candidates throughout that lineup, controllable for an extended period of time thanks to some foresight and proactive work on our part. Got Cy Young candidates throughout the rotation and bullpen.
"There are ways for us to get better. We're going to continue to try to get better. I expect us opening day to be better than we are today, and I expect us hopefully through the summer to continue to get better through growth and potentially through other acquisitions. There will never be a period of time when we're not looking to improve upon what we've put together."