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Braves add utility guy Leury Garcia on minor league deal, per report

The veteran of ten MLB campaigns gets an invite to Spring Training with the Braves

Chicago White Sox v Atlanta Braves Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

Cold stove? What cold stove. The Braves are making additions, even if they’re just the minor league deal kind:

Leury Garcia appeared in the majors for parts of ten consecutive seasons between 2013 and 2022. He never really managed to hit particularly well, with a 74 career wRC+, but provided decent outfield defense and baserunning, leading to a career 2.8 fWAR in 2,402 PAs (that’s an 0.7/600 mark, which is reasonable for a fifth outfielder).

However, Garcia had a dreadful 2022 season in which he had a horrendous 38 wRC+ in 315 PAs and posted negative defensive value for the first time since 2017. As a result, he lost 1.1 fWAR that year, and ended up being cut in Spring Training by the White Sox. It appears he then sat out the 2023 season.

For the Braves, this is pretty much just a depth move, though Garcia gets a Spring Training invite anyway. It’s hard to foresee him providing much beyond replacement-level play given that he turns 33 in March, but every team stashes true emergency options in Triple-A, and this is the Braves’ version of that move.

Garcia has appeared at every position on the diamond except for catcher and first base; he was playing decent chunks of time at shortstop and second base as recently as 2022. However, he’s been much better in the outfield throughout his career, and at this point, that seems like a more likely role for him going forward — especially since he still managed +2 OAA in the outfield in 2022 while being slightly negative in the infield that year.

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