The White Sox have agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Nick Williams, reports USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (via Twitter). Williams, a client of the Boras Corporation, would be paid $900K if he cracks the big league roster.
Now 27 years of age, Williams is a former second-round pick (Rangers, 2012) and highly touted prospect. Ranked as the game’s No. 27 overall farmhand back in 2016, Williams was one of the centerpieces of the trade sending Cole Hamels from Philadelphia to Texas, but he’s yet to replicate his impressive rookie showing from the 2017 season. A 23-year-old Williams debuted for the Phils that year and went on to hit .288/.338/.473 with a dozen homers, 14 doubles and two triples in 343 trips to the plate.
Since that time, however, Williams has struggled both in the big leagues. He batted .234/.298/.388 in 560 MLB plate appearances from 2018-19, though he still posted very strong Triple-A numbers during that ’19 campaign. Williams opened the 2020 season in the Phillies organization but eventually went to the Reds via waiver claim. He never appeared in a Major League game with Cincinnati, though, spending a month at their alternate training site before being designated for assignment and going unclaimed on waivers the second time around.
The White Sox have a full outfield with Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Adam Eaton and Adam Engel, so there’s no immediate path to playing time for Williams. He’ll look to make the club as a bench bat and DH option, though he could also head to Triple-A Charlotte as a depth piece. In some ways, this is a smaller-scale version of last year’s addition of Nomar Mazara, another still-in-his-prime former top corner outfield prospect. Williams, of course, won’t go on the 40-man roster as Mazara did, but if he surprises and finds himself with the ChiSox, he’d be controllable all the way through the 2024 season via arbitation.