May 6: The White Sox have requested unconditional release waivers on Diekman following his DFA earlier in the week, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun Times relays.
May 2: The White Sox announced a massive series of roster moves today, including reinstating infielders Tim Anderson and Hanser Alberto from the injured list. Additionally, they selected the contracts of right-hander Alex Colomé, left-hander Sammy Peralta and outfielder Billy Hamilton, the latter move having already been reported earlier today. To make room for all of those players, righty Joe Kelly was placed on the paternity list, infielder/outfielder Romy González was placed on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation, outfielder Óscar Colás and infielder Lenyn Sosa were optioned to Triple-A while lefty Jake Diekman and righty Franklin German were designated for assignment. One spot on the 40-man roster was already open after A.J. Alexy was outrighted last week.
The White Sox have been off to a terrible start this year, going 8-21 as multiple key players have dealt with injuries. It was reported on the weekend that Anderson and Alberto would be coming back today, so those moves aren’t surprising. But it seems the club has decided to use their returns to springboard an incredible roster shakeup, with 11 players involved in today’s shuffling as they try to alter their trajectory.
Diekman, 36, has a lengthy track record of effectiveness in the big leagues but has fallen on hard times in recent years. At the end of 2021, he had a 3.73 ERA through 529 career appearances. His 12.7% walk rate was definitely on the high side but he also struck out 29% of batters faced and got grounders on 47.9% of balls in play. His ERA was a bit high at 4.23 with the Red Sox at the deadline last year when they flipped him to the Pale Hose for Reese McGuire, a player to be named later and cash. Unfortunately, he posted a 6.52 ERA with the Sox the rest of the way and has a 7.94 mark so far this year. He’s walked an incredible 22.4% of batters faced this season, exacerbating a longstanding issue and getting himself bumped off the roster.
The Sox will now have a week to trade Diekman or pass him through waivers but the interest around the league is unlikely to be widespread. Left-handed relief is always in demand but Diekman is making $3.5MM this year and has a $1MM buyout on a $4MM club option for 2024. Given his recent struggles, no team will want to take on that money, meaning he will likely pass through waivers unclaimed. Once he does so, he has more than enough service time to reject an outright assignment and elect free agency.
Also designated for assignment is German, 25, who made his major league debut with the Red Sox last year but changed the color of his Sox via a February trade. Though he got five appearances in the big leagues last season, he spent most of the year in Triple-A, posting a 2.58 ERA with a 30.5% strikeout rate and 10.6% walk rate. Unfortunately, everything has gone in the wrong direction since the deal. He has an ERA of 7.15 in Triple-A so far this season, with his strikeout rate having dipped to 26.7% and his walks up to 15%.
One of those roster spots will go to Colomé, 34, who has a long résumé of work in the big leagues, including a previous stint with the White Sox. He has a 3.34 ERA over his career but has seen his results slip in the past couple of seasons. He had a tiny 0.81 ERA in the small sample of the shortened 2020 season but saw that jump to 4.15 and 5.74 in the subsequent campaigns. He signed a minor league deal with the Nationals this winter but didn’t make the club out of camp and opted out, jumping to the White Sox on another minors deal. He has a 2.25 ERA through his first 10 appearances in Triple-A this year, but with some good luck seemingly helping him out. He’s stranded 84.9% of baserunners despite an 18.9% strikeout rate and 10.8% walk rate.
Also joining the club’s bullpen will be Peralta, which will be a bit of an early birthday present for him, as he turns 25 next week. An 18th round selection in the 2019 draft, he has climbed the minor league ladder in the years since. He split last year between Double-A and Triple-A with a combined 3.77 ERA in 62 innings, striking out 29.2% of batters faced while walking 8.5%. He has a 3.52 ERA so far this year through 15 1/3 Triple-A innings.
In addition to all that 40-man roster shuffling, the club also optioned Colás. He will still be on the 40-man but it’s notable that he’s seemingly been pushed out of the club’s plans for the time being. He had no major league experience coming into this year but was a bit older and more experienced than a typical prospect since he had already played in the Cuban National Series and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.
He was given the club’s everyday right field job this year but has hit just .211/.265/.276 through 25 games for a wRC+ of 51. He was just added to the club’s roster in March and has a full slate of options, which the club will now use to get him some more seasoning in the minors. He hit an incredible .314/.371/.524 in the minors last year, going from High-A to Double-A to Triple-A, but only seven of his 117 games were at the highest level. He’ll now head back to Charlotte to work his way back to the majors. This could have ramifications for his service time, since he was previously on pace to get a full year in 2023 but now will end up shy of that once he spends 20 days in the minors, which would push back his free agency and perhaps his arbitration as well.
Andrew Benintendi and Luis Robert Jr. would normally be in left and center field, respectively, but the latter has been dealing with a minor injury of late. With Colás now optioned out, right field could be shared by some mix of Eloy Jiménez, Gavin Sheets and Adam Haseley, with Hamilton perhaps entering the mix as well.