The Cubs announced today that for the second time this offseason, they’ve claimed lefty Ian Clarkin off waivers from the White Sox. The South Siders designated Clarkin for assignment last week after signing Kelvin Herrera.
It’s the second time this winter that the ChiSox designated Clarkin for assignment. The crosstown Cubs claimed him from their south side counterparts back on Nov. 20 and promptly tried to pass Clarkin through waivers themselves (thus allowing them to keep Clarkin without giving him a 40-man roster spot), only for the White Sox to scoop him back up with a claim of their own.
Set to turn 24 next month, Clarkin is a former first-round pick (No. 33 by the Yankees in 2013) whom the White Sox originally acquired in the 2017 trade that sent David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees. While outfield prospect Blake Rutherford headlined the Sox’ return in that swap, Clarkin was an interesting addition to the mix, even if his prospect star had dimmed by the time he was traded.
However, Clarkin was hit hard in 68 innings of Double-A ball last year, turning in a 4.98 ERA with nearly as many walks (4.1 BB/9) as strikeouts (4.6 K/9). The Cubs organization is reportedly facing some ownership-mandated financial restrictions this winter and clearly sees some potential in Clarkin. The Cubs have again turned to Clarkin as a low-cost depth piece, though it’s possible they’ll again try to run him through waivers in order to maintain greater 40-man roster flexibility. At present, there are 39 players on the Cubs’ 40-man roster (including Clarkin).