The list of Milwaukee Brewers free agents this offseason has just grown larger. Avisail Garcia has made his decision about his contract option.
After passing a plate appearance threshold in September, Avisail Garcia’s contract option for 2022 turned from a club option to a mutual option, per the language in his contract. That gave Garcia the right to have a say in whether or not he became a free agent this offseason.
After slugging 29 homers to lead the team in a resurgent and career season in 2021, Garcia has indeed decided to opt out and become a free agent.
David Stearns said in his end of season press conference that Garcia makes the first decision on the mutual option and then the Brewers would go second. But since Garcia opted out, the Brewers’ decision does not matter.
Avisail Garcia has declined his end of a mutual option for 2022. The Brewers rightfielder will immediately become a free agent.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to Brewers fans or the Brewers front office. Mutual options are rarely exercised and with Garcia coming off a career year and hitting 30 years old already this season, this offseason will be his best chance to land a long-term contract with the salary he’s looking for.
While there could’ve possibly been some benefit to sticking in Milwaukee one more year, the risk of accepting the option far outweighed the reward. Besides, this doesn’t mean Garcia is sure to be gone. He could be given a Qualifying Offer and could accept that, or he could return to Milwaukee on a multi-year contract as a free agent if he and Milwaukee so choose.
The Brewers have a very expensive outfield with Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, and Jackie Bradley Jr.all among the team’s highest paid players. All three underperformed to varying degrees in 2021, and the outfield could be in need of some help. If Garcia is going to provide that help, it’s going to cost the Brewers much closer to his current market value.
With likely limited payroll flexibility, a return for Garcia may not be in the cards.
After a disappointing 2020 season, Garcia rebounded in a big way in 2021, providing the power and production the Brewers were hoping for when they signed him to that 2 year, $20MM contract in the winter of 2019-2020.
How the Crew handles right field in 2022 is up in the air as of right now. With Garcia leaving, that’s a lot of production David Stearns need to replace.