As we enter the home stretch of the '15 season, it's time to start evaluating where the Sox are set and where they could use an improvement.
The good news is that there are fewer holes than last winter. The bad news, there are still some gigantic holes to fill.
The pitching has been excellent, (4th in the Majors in fWAR) and should continue to be in 2016. While there are decisions to be made, mainly Samardzija, no major fix is needed.
The only position that I think the Sox are completely set at for 2016 is first base. Jose might not have been as great this season, but he’s been very good. He'll never win a Gold Glove, but defense at first is luxury, not a necessity.
After that? The Sox have questions. My plan/hope is to run down everything other position.
Today: Right Field
I went into this with an open mind, but it only takes about thirty seconds of looking at Avi Garcia's stats to realize that he can't cut it in right.
I can hear the 'wait and see' crowd. Avi's still only 24. But everything else points to a guy who really isn't much of a baseball player. The Catbird Seat probably put it best:
Avisail is about to start facing diluted opposition - weaker defenses, quad-A pitcher's, raw prospects, etc. - as minor league-caliber players will be making up a bigger proportion of what he's facing, both as pitchers and defenders. In light of that context, arguably the worst thing for the White Sox would be if Avisail went on a hot streak against this diminished competition and inflated their hope to the point where they don't try to upgrade on RF this offseason. Because they absolutely do need to upgrade RF if they want to justify the "We're not selling!" position they have awkwardly announced.
Avi's already reached 1,000 at bats and has put up a -1.2 WAR. That's not good.
Avi's bat is passable, but still not great. A career .271/.318/.387 is fine, but not great at the same time. The power hasn't developed (ISO of .126 in his career) and he doesn't get on base. You could live with this up the middle, but Avi's in right. Running out a career wRC+ of 94 for 550 more at-bats in 2016 will put the Sox behind the 8-ball.
For as 'meh' as Avi's bat is, his glove is worse. His UZR this year is at -12.9 and Defensive Runs Saved is -10 this year. These are horrible figures. He's among the worst defensive right fielders in the game, only without the bat to make up for it.
The reality is, there actually isn't a case to be made that Avi should be back playing right field next year. He's on track to be the worst everyday right fielder in 2015. The Sox are kidding themselves if they think he puts it together next year. Even if the bat improves, the glove won't.
Avi's not an everyday right fielder. It's really as simple as that. It's time to move on.VERDICT: The Sox need a right fielder in 2016 and should direct resources in that direction.