Report: White Sox Opening Day roster will not include Leury García

Report: Leury García will not make Sox Opening Day roster originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Leury García will not break camp with the White Sox this year. According to a report from Daryl Van Schouwen, García will not make the team’s Opening Day roster.

García has played 10 seasons for the White Sox, making him the longest-tenured player on the team. García was primarily used as a utility player who could play in the infield and the outfield. He had a penchant for coming through in clutch moments, and earned the nickname The Legend in the White Sox clubhouse. But García's play at the plate dipped significantly in 2022, however, and with the addition of Elvis Andrus and the emergence of other younger players, García’s versatility became less valuable.

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What is valuable is García’s contract. The White Sox signed him to a three-year, $16.5 million deal before the start of the 2022 offseason, but on NBC Sports Chicago’s White Sox Talk podcast, GM Rick Hahn said García’s contract won’t be a factor in the decision to keep him with the big-league club or not.

“That’s sunk cost, let’s say,” Hahn said. “Ultimately it’s about taking the best 26. And one thing to consider is what is the effect on your depth of taking these 26, what’s the effect on your depth if you go with this group. In other words, do players x and y walk out the door because you have to release them to make room for somebody else? Or because they have certain status that enables them to have out clauses to walk out the door? So you do try to look at not only what is the most competitive roster on Mar. 30, but also how are we getting through the next several months before we potentially add from outside based on these decisions.

“To (owner) Jerry (Reinsdorf)’s strong credit and to my blame, we’ve eaten contracts before around here. In the end the competitiveness of Jerry is going to trump whatever sunk costs is involved when we go to him with a roster decision that potentially involves eating money.”

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If García does not start with the White Sox this season, that doesn’t mean his days on the South Side are done completely. A number of things, like injuries or extended slumps for other guys could lead the White Sox to call him back up to the big leagues.

“The reality is, no team wins a championship with only 26 guys. It’s much, much closer to 35 or 40 in this core group.”

In García’s 10 seasons with the White Sox, he slashed .254/.295/.350 with 34 homers, 200 RBI and 64 stolen bases. He played over 5,000 innings in the field, bouncing around from all three outfield positions, second base, shortstop and third base.

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