The White Sox announced that they’ve claimed first baseman/designated hitter AJ Reed off waivers from the Astros. Injured pitcher Ryan Burr was transferred to the 60-day IL to open a spot on the 40-man roster. Reed, who was designated for assignment by Houston last week, has been assigned to Triple-A Charlotte.
Baseball America once rated the now-26-year-old Reed as the game’s No. 11 overall prospect, but the slugger never lived up to that billing. He’s hit just .153/.253/.244 and punched out 50 times in 150 Major League plate appearances, though it’s also worth emphasizing that Reed has never had much of a shot at regular playing time in the big leagues.
Reed’s .224/.329/.469 line in Triple-A this season has been underwhelming, but he has a lifetime .260/.351/.517 with 89 home runs in 1617 plate appearances at that level. Reed’s strikeout rate has jumped 23.7 percent in 2018 to 29.8 percent in 2019, but he’s still walking at the same strong 12 percent clip he’s managed in each of his three prior seasons in Triple-A.
The White Sox have Jose Abreu entrenched at first base, but he’s a free agent at season’s end. The South Siders also recently released Yonder Alonso, freeing up significant time at both first base and designated hitter. Reed is in his final option season, so he’ll need to make next year’s Opening Day roster or else be exposed to waivers once again. There’s little reason for the Sox not to give Reed a look, however. given his recent prospect pedigree and the potential long-term opening at first/DH. Even if the organization ultimately extends or re-signs Abreu, Reed could be given an opportunity to establish himself in an arrangement similar to the previous timeshare between Abreu and Alonso.