In the Nobody Really Knows Anything About Anything But Often Just Get Lucky category, there’s the case of Adolis Garcia.
In December of 2019, the then twenty-five-year-old outfielder from Cuba was DFA’d by the Cardinals after 25 games in 2018. The Rangers picked him up for $100,000. Or, Jacob deGrom’s bandage budget.
He played in just three games in that miserable 2020 season, got six at-bats, then was DFA’d by the Rangers.
Thrown away twice by two smart teams. The Cardinals, up until this year, had been the class of the NL Central, always winning the division or right in the thick of it. The Rangers had the boy genius who was president of baseball operations.
Both saw nothing in Adolis.
In the most Jon Daniels of moves (granted, Chris Young had just been named general manager so part of this falls on him but it’s a much better narrative to put all the blame on Daniels), Adolis Garcia was designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers when they acquired powerhouse pitcher Mike Fotynewicz.
A Zoom call with Chris Woodward and Jon Daniels talked about the Rangers acquiring their “man” in Foltynewicz. He quickly became the new F-Word in the Rangers vocabulary.
Garcia, meanwhile, was tossed aside so the Rangers could run out the powerhouse outfield of Willie Calhoun, Khris Davis, David Dahl, Joey Gallo, and Leody Taveras. There was no room for Garcia in that murderer’s row.
Luckily for the Rangers, no other team snatched up Garcia. So he toiled away. In everyone’s defense, Garcia could crush the fastball. That part was always obvious. But he chases everything thing else and couldn’t hit it. He struck out a rate that made even Joey Gallo take notice.
But he crushed it in spring training of 2021 and really never looked back. He made the All-Star team that year and was fourth in Rookie of the Year voting, crushing 31 home runs with 90 RBIs.
He followed that up with 27 homers and 101 RBIs in 2022, his strikeout dropping just a bit.
Nothing is slowing down Garcia this year either. He’s leading all of baseball with 73 RBIs—a number most players will die for for an entire season—before the All-Star game.
He was just named a starter to replace the injured Mike Trout, giving the Rangers a record-tying five starting All-Stars to go along with Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, Josh Jung, and Jonah Heim. If Nathan Eovaldi starts, it will almost like being a Rangers game.
Garcia isn’t slowing down heading to the break. He homered in last night’s 7-2 win over the Nationals after homering in Boston and hitting the game-tying home run against Houston in that gut punch of a loss.
The Rangers lucked into Adolis Garcia. For a franchise with a history of nothing but being snake bitten, Rangers fans will take a little luck.