The Padres signed Greg Garcia to be a plug-and-play utility player, and he has executed that job wonderfully.
Greg Garcia has only been an everyday player one season in his six-year career, in 2017 with the Cardinals. The El Cajon native and Valhalla High School product has been the prototypical utility infielder, giving your best second baseman or third baseman a rest on a Sunday getaway game or filling in for an injury.
When the Padres brought him in before this season, he was asked to do nothing more than what he had done in the past. Padres teams of the past may have signed him to be their everyday second baseman while trying to find answers they didn’t have. This team is different, in a good way. Garcia came into this season understanding that they had signed Ian Kinsler (who signed a month after Garcia) to be the everyday second baseman until star prospect Luis Urias was ready. There was no part of this equation where Garcia would see 600-plus at-bats and 150 games at second base.
Just about halfway through the season, this role has fit Garcia like a glove. He has played all four infield positions, mainly at second and third. He has been a left-handed bat off of the bench. He helped the Padres navigate through the injury to Fernando Tatis Jr. and Kinsler’s struggles.
Off of the bench, he has four pinch-hits with four walks.
As a starter, he is batting .268 with two home runs, eight doubles, and three triples on his way to a respectable .744 OPS this season. For a guy who has a lifetime batting average of .250 and a career OPS of .704, these numbers are more than acceptable for the role the Padres want Garcia to play. He currently owns a 100 wRC+, which is perfectly average.
On top of that, he has played steady defense, manning two positions well, displaying solid defensive metrics at both second and third base.
According to Fan Graphs, he has posted a 0.7 WAR, which is slightly higher than Eric Hosmer’s 0.6.
He has also come through in the clutch on several occasions, batting .281 with five extra-base hits with runners in scoring position. He has tortured the Colorado Rockies specifically, in his eight games against them, batting .370 with a 1.044 OPS.
Garcia has been anything but a disappointment this season. He has been everything the Padres could have asked him to be when they signed him.