Bench Garcia? If only

He’s the owner of the fourth-lowest OPS in the NL and is a liability in the field. But Adonis Garcia will continue to man the hot corner because, well, who’s going to replace him?

“The experience I’ve had with (Garcia), I just want to keep running the guy out there and hopefully he starts doing what we think he can do,” Snitker said.

Garcia’s surprising second half in 2016 should’ve been viewed as an outlier. He rarely walks and doesn’t have enough power to make up for low OBPs. More telling: A guy who was made his big league debut at 30 years old had to be demoted to the minors the following season because of his attitude.

The Braves should’ve known better. To be fair, Sean Rodriguez was one possibility but, as we’ve seen so far, there was more than one spot available on the Braves bench. And if Rodriguez was playing third Jace Peterson would be at second. At this point I’d take, gulp, Ken Oberkfell.

Maybe Peterson will see some time at 3B. Why not. He can’t be any worse. But he won’t be much better. Rio Ruiz? Again, he can’t be worse than Garcia, but he hasn’t been very good so far at Gwinnett, striking out 17 times in 13 games with a .572 OPS.

I wouldn’t put too much stock in Austin Riley, either. Scouts are skeptical he can has the plate discipline to handle big league pitching. His defense is also a big question mark. Travis Demeritte is another possibility but I’m not that bullish on a guy traded for Lucas Harrell.

Time for Coppy to recognize reality — the Braves need help on the hot corner. Next year’s free agent class includes Mike Moustakas, batting .300 with 5 HR in 2017. He turns 29 in September. Todd Frazier could also be had but he’ll be 32 in February and, though he hit 40 HR last year his OBP since 2015 is .305.

Then there’s Josh Donaldson, a free agent after 2018. If the Blue Jays continue to struggle he stands as their most attractive trading chip. Manny Machado will also be a FA after 2018 but he’s too rich for the Braves blood and the still-competitive Orioles are unlikely to move him.

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2 Comments

  1. Not that we should be a fan of signing him beyond this year, but what are the chances Phillips becomes a factor here at all? By all accounts, he loves playing in Atlanta and appears to mesh well in the clubhouse. Is there any kind of scenario where Phillips/Albies/Swanson moves to 3B?

    Garcia is a bench player at best and Ruiz isn’t impressing anybody at the lower levels. Time to find some kind of viable long-term answer here.

  2. I would talk to Phillips about playing 3B when Albies is ready. Wouldn’t be a bad move for him to show some versatility, considering his age and impending free agency.

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