The White Sox have added some low-cost, controllable upside to their bullpen, as they officially announced on Friday the signing of right-hander Mitchell Boggs to a one-year, $1.1MM contract. The former Cardinals setup man is represented by CSE. Because he only has four years, 34 days of Major League service time, Boggs will remain arbitration eligible following the 2014 season and is now controlled by the White Sox through 2015.
Boggs, who turns 30 next week, found himself in the closer's role in St. Louis last season after Jason Motte underwent Tommy John surgery. However, despite a strong track record as a setup man, Boggs struggled in his small sample as the Cardinals' closer. The former fifth-round pick allowed 18 earned runs on 21 hits and 15 walks in just 14 2/3 innings for the Redbirds before being designated for assignment and picked up by the Rockies.
He struggled greatly through the summer months in Colorado's minor league system, posting an 8.27 ERA in 16 1/3 Triple-A innings, but Boggs righted the ship (to an extent) upon a promotion to the Majors in September. In 8 2/3 big league innings to close the season, he allowed three runs on seven hits and five walks.
None of those struggles are characteristic of Boggs, who prior to 2013 had posted a combined 3.08 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 201 innings from 2010-12. Boggs had two large problems last season — a career-worst 7.7 BB/9 and an unnaturally high 26.3 percent homer-to-flyball ratio. The latter of those two marks seems to be particularly fluky, especially considering the fact that Boggs entered the season with a career mark of just 8.5 percent in that regard.
Boggs will join a White Sox bullpen that has said goodbye to closer Addison Reed this offseason and also parted with mainstays Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton in July trades. He'll add to a group that figures to consist of some combination of Nate Jones, Daniel Webb, Matt Lindstrom, Ronald Belisario, Scott Downs and Donnie Veal.