The Cardinals have announced the signing of Cuban free agent Jose Adolis Garcia. The outfielder will receive an invitation to MLB camp on the minor-league deal. He’ll receive a $2.5MM bonus, per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter).
Garcia is the younger brother of Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia. He was listed at 24 years of age as of last August, when Ben Badler of Baseball America reported that he had left Cuba in search of a MLB opportunity. Garcia, a right-handed hitter, received clearance to sign in early December.
While Garcia is expected to be ready for an assignment in the upper minors, he’s not viewed as being quite ready for the majors. Despite excellent numbers in Cuba — he hit .315/.395/.517 over his 380 most recent plate appearances — he wasn’t exactly productive in his brief run with a second-level Japanese club.
Badler says there’s still some polishing left to be done before Garcia is ready for prime time. But he also emphasizes the impressive tools that Garcia brings to the table. He’s said to carry well-above-average speed, an outstanding arm, the ability to play center, and good bat speed. There are some offensive worries, though, per Badler’s latest write-up; namely: “his long swing, free-swinging approach and struggles to recognize offspeed pitches.”
There won’t be any impact on the rest of the Cards’ international maneuverings, as Garcia was able to sign free of international limitations given his age and experience. St. Louis will hope to strike once again on a slightly older Cuban prospect who signs for a substantial, but hardly massive bonus. The team hit it big in 2016, when Aledmys Diaz posted an outstanding rookie season after originally signing for $8MM in March of 2014.