Avisail Garcia is 22, maybe a little bit overweight and definitely unproven.
He’s also a far better bet for the White Sox than Jake Peavy was 4 years ago, when he came to Chicago less than 2 years removed from winning the National League Cy Young Award.
Trying to get to the playoffs for the third time in 5 years, the Sox crossed their fingers and grabbed Peavy and his over-sized contract from the Padres minutes before the trade deadline.
This was classic Ken Williams, and the result worked out like most moves the former general manager made after trading for Geoff Blum in 2005.
Peavy was great fun to watch (or just to listen to when he pitched), when he was healthy, that is.
He was always a forced fit on an aging team. He made it easy to let Mark Buehrle walk, yet never could stay healthy enough to come through when it mattered most.
GM Rick Hahn should have cut the cord with Peavy last winter, when he had a chance to walk away for only $4 million.
But keeping Peavy was part of a stumbling start for Hahn, who bought into the idea of building a contender around him, Chris Sale and John Danks.
Hahn made a trio of decisions that did not pay off – exercising the option on Gavin Floyd’s contract, signing Peavy to a 2-year extension and importing Jeff Keppinger as a part to improve an aging lineup.
He felt the real indication on the team he took over was its 81-66 record on Sept. 18, not the ensuing collapse in which it lost 10 of 12 and was exposed as a pretender.
The impossible-to-ignore reality is that it has a 44-75 record since jumping the tracks last season, with Tuesday night’s loss to the Indians – a game in which trade-bait outfielder Alex Rios left early after fouling a ball off his foot – the latest disappointment.
Consider the Peavy-for-Garcia exchange, in a three-team deal that sends Peavy to the Red Sox, infielder Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox to the Tigers and three other secondary prospects to the White Sox (infielder Cleuluis Rondon and pitchers Francelis Montas and Jeffrey Wendelken) a start.
It’s telling that the Tigers wanted Iglesias, who has moved between shortstop and third base for Boston, rather than Ramirez, who hasn’t looked like “The Cuban Missile” for a few years now.
Details on the Peavy-Garcia exchange were not clear Tuesday night, when the deal had yet to be announced.
But assuming the Red Sox pick up all of Peavy’s salary, creating a little badly needed payroll flexibility, you have to give Hahn a lot of credit for getting the Tigers’ Dave Dombrowski to part with Garcia, a career .340 hitter with 11 home runs in 87 games above Double-A.
He was promoted from Double-A when the Tigers tried to address a lack of production from the outfield corners last year but has hit a pedestrian .269 with a .663 OPS in 53 big league games.
ESPN and SiriusXM’s Jim Bowden says Garcia projects to a 20-homer, 80-RBI guy in the big leagues. I think that’s selling him short.
With a chance to catch his breath and then play regularly at U.S. Cellular Field, he can be an impact hitter, if not quite the second coming off Magglio Ordonez or Miguel Cabrera (who he resembles so closely he has been called “Little Miggy”).
The White Sox were able to get Garcia only because: A) the Tigers know they’re going to lose shortstop Jhonny Peralta for at least 50 games with a Biogenesis suspension, and B) they rate 21-year-old outfielder Nick Castellanos higher than Garcia.
Peavy should provide a boost to the Red Sox, who know they need starting pitching to hang with the Rays and Orioles in an American League East race that could be crazy.
This trade is evidence of how badly Red Sox President Larry Lucchino wants to win post-Terry Francona/Theo Epstein.
It’s not a trade that will turn around the White Sox. But it puts them on the right road, and that’s a start.