The San Diego Padres made a difficult decision to move on from Greg Garcia. But his time here in San Diego won’t be forgotten.
It may not have seemed like it, but Greg Garcia was the glue that kept this team from falling apart. Now, he is a free agent.
The San Diego native spent his last two seasons as the first bat off the Padres bench. The veteran didn’t start many games but provided a huge spark for the team throughout his time as a Padre and solidified himself as one of baseball’s best pinch-hitters.
Did you know Greg Garcia is from El Cajon? A Valhalla Norseman? Of course you did.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) September 1, 2019
Playing out of Hawaii, Garcia was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh round of the 2010 draft. After playing five seasons in St. Louis, he was waived and claimed by the Padres on November 1, 2018.
Garcia’s time with the Friars didn’t allow for many opportunities with all the young infielders looking to earn a job. But that didn’t stop him from making the most of his chances. He competed with now-retired Ian Kinsler along with Luis Urias, Jose Pirela, and Ty France. Kinsler started a majority of the games at second to start the season, but Garcia gave him a run for his money and eventually earned at-bats later in the season.
Garcia earned starting spots throughout the 2019 campaign. He was asked to start at second base with the lack of depth at that position, he started games at shortstop when Fernando Tatis jr. was injured, and Garcia also started a few games at third base when Manny Machado moved over to play shortstop for a few months.
The vet wasn’t the most athletic player on the field by a large margin, but his heart and hustle out weighted his abilities, and it was noticeable on the diamond. Garcia constantly dove for balls, turned double plays, and gave his full effort on every defensive attempt.
— Fox Sports San Diego (@FOXSportsSD) September 28, 2019
As a hitter, Garcia bats left-handed, and that was important for the Padres lineup, who in 2019 had a heavy right-handed batting order. The lefty is by no means a power hitter, but he hit a career-high four home runs in 2019. Garcia’s offensive game is to make hard contact with the ball and put it in play. He was an above-average bunter and a clutch hitter.
W/infield back & R’s on 2B/3B & no outs Greg Garcia executes a perfectly directed BHB 2 2B that scores the R & moves the R from 2B 2 3B. 2 keys- Direction & Speed not surprise. This became a PFP play 4 the defense. P failed 2 continue 2 cover 1B when he was unable 2 cut ball off. pic.twitter.com/aqhtO8NcUI
— Jerry Weinstein (@JWonCATCHING) July 27, 2020
#OTD in 2019, the #Padres scored 4 runs in the 9th inning to defeat the Rockies at Coors Field. Greg Garcia’s 2 RBI triple tied the game, while @MattStrahm’s RBI walk gave San Diego the lead. pic.twitter.com/9RQQZlmixn
— Padres On This Day (@padresOTD) June 16, 2020
Garcia helped this team in a majority of ways throughout his time in San Diego. He was a fan favorite, and most aren’t going to forget the hometown kid. Garcia shared a special bond with the fans of San Diego and even the players by providing his native roots in the clubhouse.
The Padres will not tender a contract to utility infielder Greg Garcia, who has been among MLB’s best pinch-hitters during two seasons with his hometown team.
— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) December 2, 2020
The team’s move to non-tender Garcia allows him to hit the market and find a team where he can contribute. With all the new acquisitions to the Padres and the rise of the Rookie of the Year candidate Jake Cronenworth, Garcia’s window to start shut down quickly. This move gives him a chance to find a new home, but if things don’t work out as he plans, Garcia could wind up back in San Diego at some point in his career.
The Padres are quickly establishing themselves as one of the top teams in the league; every move from here on out is to win a World Series. Many wanted Garcia to be a part of the dynasty, but for now, his time as a Padre has come to an end.