A year ago, all the spotlights pointed at Avisail Garcia, the Miami Marlins’ top addition for the 2022 season.
The Venezuelan outfielder was fresh off one of the best seasons of his career, totaling 29 home runs and 86 RBI in 135 games with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2021. Following that solid campaign, Garcia signed a 4-year, $53-million contract as a free agent with the Marlins.
Garcia was one of the primary targets on general manager Kim Ng’s agenda.
“Avi is a very good, multidimensional player,” Ng said after signing Garcia in December 2021. “He can hit, hit for power, he can play defense, has a great arm. And those are all the things that really led us to him, one of the most impactful outfield bats on the free-agent market this year.”
However, Garcia’s debut season with the Fish was far from ideal.
The 31-year-old compiled 80 hits, 35 RBI and a career-low .224 batting average in 98 games last year. Garcia’s struggles worsened with a recurrent left hamstring injury that sidelined him for several weeks throughout the season.
Now, Garcia hopes to make a comeback by staying away from the injured list.
“As long as I’m healthy and do my routine, I think everything will be fine,” Garcia said. “I really feel good, and I’m happy about it.”
The Anaco, Venezuela, native also said he’s been working on being more focused. So far, he’s yielded mixed results. In Spring Training, Garcia has recorded two home runs and two doubles in 13 games but has struck out 15 times.
Avisaíl García with his second Grapefruit League homer — the first Marlin with multiple taters this spring. #Marlins will look to him, Soler, Jazz and Cooper for pop (and as run producers) in 2023. pic.twitter.com/9ZMZkztIJw
— Christina De Nicola (@CDeNicola13) March 14, 2023
Although it’s a small sample, Garcia is confident about his improvement for the upcoming campaign.
“It’s almost time to start the season, and I expect to see positive results throughout it,” Garcia said.
Adjusting to a new clubhouse
This offseason, the Marlins underwent a total overhaul with the addition of AL Batting Champion Luis Arraez, league veterans Jean Segura and Johnny Cueto, and a new coaching staff led by Skip Schumaker.
Last year, Miami finished fourth in the National League East Division with a 69-93 record in Don Mattingly’s last season in charge. Contrary to preseason expectations, the Marlins fell out of postseason contention by the end of August.
Garcia believes the roster renovations will push the club in a winning direction.
“This team will get far,” he said. “We have plenty of talent, pitching and hitting-wise. I believe we’re complete. We just need to stay healthy and focused to win as many games as possible.”
According to Garcia, the transition to the new coaching staff has been seamless for the team. He said the players and staff integrated organically, carrying positive vibes and a hard-working mentality.
When he needs it, Garcia can also look up to his new coaches for position advice. Both Schumaker and first base coach Jon Jay spent most of their playing careers in the outfields so making shifts in the outfield should not be an issue for Garcia.
“I think we have a good team and a positive attitude,” Garcia said. “We’re all very happy to spend time with the new guys and can’t wait to start the new season.”