The White Sox announced this afternoon that they have designated right-hander Declan Cronin for assignment. The move opens up a spot on the club’s 40-man roster for left-hander Tim Hill, who the club signed to a one-year deal earlier today. The club will need to make an additional 40-man roster move at some point to make their reported agreement with catcher Martin Maldonado official, as well.
Cronin, 26, joined the White Sox after being selected in the 36th round of the 2019 draft. He impressed at the lower levels of the minors in 2019 after being drafted, with a 2.88 ERA in 20 appearances split between rookie ball and the Single-A level. Cronin did not play in 2020 due to the cancelled minor league season and struggled upon his return to professional play, with a 4.56 ERA in 35 appearances split between High-A and Double-A in 2021 as his walk rate crept up from 8.1% in 2019 all the way to 10.8% in 2021. Fortunately for the righty, he bounced back somewhat in 2022 and performed well enough to reach the Triple-A level by midseason.
In 74 2/3 career innings of work at the Triple-A level over the past two seasons, Cronin has performed acceptably with a 3.74 ERA despite a strikeout rate of just 16.8%. That performance was enough to earn Cronin a call-up midseason in 2023. Cronin ultimately made nine appearances down the stretch for the south siders, though he struggled badly to a 9.00 ERA in eleven innings. In that brief cup of coffee in the majors, Cronin struck out just 15.7% of batters faced while walking 13.7%.
Going forward, Cronin will be exposed to waivers where any team willing to offer him a spot on their 40-man roster could claim him. While his results at the big league level and low strikeout totals in recent years surely raise the eyebrows of interested teams, the right-hander had posted a groundball rate north of 50% at every level of his professional career, including a 55.9% clip at the big league level. That proclivity for groundballs could make Cronin a depth option worth considering for clubs. Should he pass through waivers, the White Sox will have the opportunity to assign him outright to the minors where he can be retained without the use of a 40-man roster spot for the 2024 season.