The White Sox have officially agreed to a one-year deal with free agent righty Miguel Gonzalez, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported (via Twitter). He’ll receive a $4.75MM salary, the team announced (and as Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweeted). Outfielder Jacob May was designated for assignment to open a roster spot.
Gonzalez, 33, spent the bulk of the past two seasons in Chicago, though he was dealt away to the Rangers in late August. Now, he’ll return to help bolster a rotation that features several young hurlers as well as veteran James Shields.
For a rebuilding White Sox organization, adding Gonzalez fits with earlier moves. The club struck a contract with catcher Welington Castillo and dealt for veteran relievers Joakim Soria and Luis Avilan.
In sum, the moves have added about $28MM in commitments, most of it for the coming season, a manageable amount as the South Siders endeavor to supplement — and reduce the burden on — a budding young core. The White Sox roster still includes other veterans such as Shields, Jose Abreu, and Avisail Garcia. While Abreu and Garcia have arisen in trade talks, to this point indications are that they’ll likely stay put.
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Nobody will mistake the addition of Gonzalez as a signing designed to push for contention, but he has proven still capable of giving innings. In 2017, he threw 156 total frames over 27 starts, working to a 4.62 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9. Gonzalez carried career lows in average fastball velocity (91.2 mph) and swinging-strike rate (6.7%), though those figures aren’t wildly out of line with his established norms.
Beyond Gonzalez and Shields, the White Sox rotation will likely be made up of far less established pitchers. Youngsters Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Carson Fulmer all have top prospect pedigrees, but have yet to turn in full MLB seasons. Dylan Covey — who was actually once a first-round selection, going unsigned at that time — is also an option, though he struggled badly in his MLB debut in 2017. Carlos Rodon will be expected to hold down a spot once he’s at full health. The White Sox likely hope that top pitching prospect Michael Kopech will force his way into the picture at some point, though that’s no sure thing at present. All told, it’s not difficult to see why the organization felt it needed another reliable rotation piece.
As for the 25-year-old May, he made his MLB debut last year but struggled badly in a short sample. He has not fared much better at the plate in the upper minors; in 2017, he carried a .248/.307/.325 batting line in 467 Triple-A plate appearances.