3 players the Cardinals gave up on too soon
By Eric Treuden
García came up through the Cardinals' organization after signing as an international free agent in February of 2017. Before joining the Cards, he had already established himself as an intriguing outfield prospect in Cuba and during a brief stint in Japan.
Starting off in the organization as a 24-year-old, García did not have to wait long to make it up to Triple-A and eventually the big leagues. As a matter of fact, he was drafted in 2017 and debuted in The Show in 2018. He performed exceptionally well in the minors and showed that he at least deserved a look in the majors.
After making it into 21 games for the Cardinals, García had not shown enough to warrant another look in 2019. It's fairly easy to see why that is, as he went just two-for-17 (.118 average) with seven strikeouts and no walks. His OPS+ that year was -21.
Even if he was able to perform in the major leagues, García was blocked in 2019 by a multitude of outfield-capable players on the big league roster, including Marcell Ozuna, Harrison Bader, Dexter Fowler, José Martínez, Tommy Edman, Tyler O'Neill and Yairo Muñoz, among others.
The 2020 campaign was going to largely feature the same names in the Cardinals' outfield picture, now joined by top prospect Dylan Carlson. García had nowhere to go in the organization, despite hitting 32 home runs with 96 RBI in Triple-A the year prior.
In December 2019, the Cardinals decided to cut bait with García. He was a big-league player without a big-league roster spot. He was traded to the Texas Rangers in exchange for cash considerations and nothing more, a huge mistake by the Cards.
García went hitless in six at-bats for the Rangers in 2020, eventually being designated for assignment. He was brought back on a minor league deal entering 2021 and saw his career blossom, making the All-Star Game that year and hitting 31 home runs for Texas. He has continued to perform with his new club and is perhaps a player the Cardinals should've held onto for a bit longer.