The White Sox recently signed reliever Rafael Dolis to a minor league contract, as noted by Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America. According to Dolis’ transactions tracker at MLB.com, he has been assigned to the team’s Arizona complex. After some time to build arm strength, he figures to head to Triple-A Charlotte.
Dolis, 34, spent the past two seasons with the Blue Jays. The 6’4″ righty signed a one-year guarantee with Toronto on the heels of a strong four-year run for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. He fared well in his initial return stateside, working to a 1.50 ERA with a 31% strikeout rate in 24 innings during the truncated 2020 season. He walked an alarming 14% of batters faced, but the Jays were nevertheless impressed enough with his swing-and-miss acumen they exercised a cheap $1.5MM option on his services for 2021.
That didn’t pan out, as Dolis scuffled last year. He tossed 32 innings — his biggest MLB workload since a 38-inning campaign with the 2012 Cubs — but posted below-average results. Dolis managed just a 5.63 ERA and saw virtually all of his peripherals go in the wrong direction relative to the previous year. His strikeout percentage dropped to 25% as his swinging strike rate dipped from 12.6% to a below-average 10.5% mark. The already-worrisome walk figure spiked even further, while Dolis’ ground-ball rate fell from 50% to 41.4%.
As his struggles continued, the Jays designated Dolis for assignment and passed him through outright waivers in mid-August. He managed better results with Triple-A Buffalo late in the year, but he continued to demonstrate control issues and the Jays never added him back to the 40-man roster. Dolis qualified for minor league free agency after the season and will try to pitch his way back to the big leagues with the ChiSox.
He’ll be joined in that effort by former Yankee Brody Koerner, who also recently signed a non-roster with Chicago (h/t to Hilburn-Trenkle). Koerner was assigned directly to Charlotte earlier this month and has already made a couple appearances for the Knights. The 28-year-old got his first cup of coffee in the majors with New York last August, suiting up in two games and tossing three innings of one-run ball.
Designated for assignment and outrighted just before the Yankees’ Wild Card game, Koerner qualified for minor league free agency. The Clemson product has a 4.92 ERA in 228 2/3 innings at Triple-A, but he owns a more impressive 3.55 mark in three Double-A seasons. Koerner has come out of the bullpen for his first two outings with Charlotte but was primarily a starting pitcher during his time in the New York organization.