12:24pm: Tilson has elected free agency, James Fegan of The Athletic tweets.
8:11am: White Sox outfielder Charlie Tilson was outrighted off the team’s 40-man roster yesterday, per the transactions log at MLB.com. Tilson has previously been outrighted, so he’ll have the option to declare free agency and see what the market holds for him this winter.
The writing was likely on the wall for Tilson when he didn’t receive a September call-up despite a healthy finish to the season in Triple-A. Tilson appeared in 54 games with the ChiSox in 2019, hitting .229/.293/.285 with a homer and five doubles in 157 plate appearances, but he spent most of the year with Triple-A Charlotte, where he batted .288/.345/.398 in 257 trips to the plate.
At the time of his acquisition from the Cardinals — Chicago traded Zach Duke to St. Louis for him back in 2016 — Tilson was viewed as an elite runner and a potential top-of-the-order. But Tilson tore his hamstring in his MLB debut just days after being acquired by the White Sox and missed the rest of the season after undergoing surgery. He then missed the entire 2017 campaign with a stress reaction in his foot that kept him in a walking boot for a notable portion of the season.
Since that pair of leg injuries, Tilson, who swiped 46 bases as a 22-year-old in Double-A in 2015, has tallied just 20 steals (in 28 attempts) across 223 games between Triple-A and the Majors. And in 278 Major League plate appearances since returning, he’s mustered a tepid .244/.309/.288 slash line. He still drew above-average defensive marks in a tiny sample of work in center field this season, though those same metrics panned his work in right field (again, in a minuscule sample). If and when Tilson does become a free agent, he’ll likely land a minor league deal and compete for a roster spot in Spring Training with a club next season.