1:58pm: Heyman tweets that Pelfrey has agreed to a minor league deal. He’ll head to Triple-A Charlotte for the time being.
1:51pm: Heyman reports that the two sides have agreed to a deal, though he doesn’t specify whether it’s a minor league pact that’ll send Pelfrey to Triple-A Charlotte for the time being or a Major League deal that will place Pelfrey directly onto the 25-man roster.
The Tigers cut bait on Pelfrey prior to the start of the season, electing to jettison the struggling righty rather than stick with him in hopes of salvaging some value out of the ill-fated two-year, $16MM contract signed by Pelfrey in the 2015-16 offseason. Detroit will be on the hook for the entirety of Pelfrey’s $8MM salary in 2017, minus the pro-rated portion of the league minimum for any time the right-hander spends in the Majors with the White Sox (or any other club).
Pelfrey’s lone year in Detroit resulted in a lackluster 5.07 ERA with 4.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 52.2 percent ground-ball rate. His 92.8 mph heater and solid grounder rate do create some mild cause for optimism, but Pelfey’s struggles weren’t confined to his 2016 season in the Motor City. In fact, since undergoing Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for nearly the entire 2012 season, Pelfrey has logged an unsightly 4.97 ERA in 460 innings with the Twins and Tigers.
While not an exciting addition to the White Sox’ depth chart, Pelfrey can give the club an option at the back of a rotation that is currently rife with uncertainty. Following the trade of Chris Sale this offseason and an injury that will sideline Carlos Rodon up to six weeks (possibly more), the Chicago rotation features Jose Quintana, James Shields, Derek Holland, Miguel Gonzalez and Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey (with swingman Anthony Swarzak also waiting in the wings). Pelfrey, if nothing else, can eventually surface in the Majors and simply function as an innings eater and a bridge to some of the Sox’ electric young arms — including Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Reynaldo Lopez.