The White Sox have signed right-hander Justin Anderson to a minor league deal, according to his transactions tracker at MLB.com. He has been assigned to Triple-A Charlotte for now but could get an invitation to major league Spring Training.
Anderson, 31, appeared in 111 big league games for the Angels over 2018 and 2019. He tossed 102 1/3 innings with a 4.75 earned run average. He struck out a strong 27.7% of batters faced but also gave out walks at a 15.7% clip. Despite the control issues, he nonetheless served a leverage role for the Halos, racking up five saves and 33 holds.
Since then, however, injuries have sent him out into the proverbial wilderness. In 2020, he suffered an oblique strain and then a torn ligament in his pitching elbow, the latter eventually leading to Tommy John surgery in July of 2020. He was non-tendered by the Angels at the end of that year and signed a two-year minor league deal with the Rangers, with that club hoping for a post-surgery bounceback in 2022. That didn’t work out, with Anderson landing on the minor league IL in April of 2022 after just three appearances and never returning.
In 2023, Anderson finally showed a bit of progress. He secured a minor league deal with the Royals in June and was able to make 24 appearances over the final few months of the season, logging 36 2/3 innings of work. Anderson posted an ERA of 6.87 on the year overall but struck out 35.5% of batters faced and finished strong, with an ERA of 3.44 in his final 11 appearances and 0.63 in his last eight. Any pitcher can look better with that kind of arbitrary selectivity, but since Anderson was dealing with injuries for so long, it would be fair to expect him to take some time getting into a groove.
The White Sox will be hoping that was indeed the case and that Anderson can be in better form in 2024 after shaking off some rust this year. If he is able to stay healthy and effective, he still has a full slate of options and less than three years of service time. If he’s added to the roster at any point, he could be moved between the majors and minors without being exposed to waivers and could be retained for future seasons via arbitration.