A number of years ago, when I had reason to watch the Tigers, I got to see a bit of a young Avisail Garcia. From a young age, Garcia was referred to as “Mini Miggy,” that being a reference to regular Miggy, Miguel Cabrera. Garcia is from the same country as Cabrera, and he played for the same team as Cabrera, and he had a build and swing somewhat reminiscent of Cabrera. You probably know how it’s worked out to this point. Garcia was Mini Miggy in the same way so many small Dominican righties have been Mini Pedros. Cabrera will eventually end up in the Hall of Fame. Garcia was non-tendered by a bad baseball team at the age of 27.
But today is January 15, and these are trying days to be a baseball writer. The start of the season still feels ages away, and there’s only so much one can write about Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. And so, here we are. Garcia is finalizing a contract with the Rays, a one-year contract worth at least $3.5 million and at most $6 million. Garcia doesn’t seem ticketed for a starting role — he’ll probably bounce around, getting opportunities to hit against lefties. The better he does, the more he’ll play, but he’s joining a team with too many talented players for there to be a long leash. Just because Garcia will start the season in Tampa Bay doesn’t mean that’s where he’ll end it.
The Rays have wanted a right-handed hitter. I assume they wanted a better right-handed hitter. But this is the right-handed hitter I’ve been given a reason to write about right now. So if you’ll join me, I have three things I’d like to share with you. Three fun facts, if you will, three ways in which Garcia is unusual.
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