The White Sox on Thursday announced that they’ve designated veteran right-hander Steve Cishek and lefty Ross Detwiler for assignment. Their spots on the active and 40-man rosters will go to lefties Aaron Bummer and Carlos Rodon, who have been reinstated from the 45-day injured list.
Cishek, 34, inked a one-year, $6MM deal with the ChiSox this past winter — a pact that contained a $5.25MM salary and a $750K buyout on a $6.75MM club option for 2021 that clearly will not be picked up. Cishek’s overall numbers with the South Siders aren’t great — a 5.40ERA and 21-to-9 K/BB ratio in 20 innings — but he’s pitched pretty well since an awful start to the year. Over his past dozen outings, he’s pitched 11 2/3 innings while allowing four runs on 10 hits and five walks with 14 punchouts.
Recent uptick notwithstanding, the Sox feel that both Bummer and Rodon represent better postseason options, it seems. With four days of the regular season left, this move seems likely to put an end to Cishek’s 2020 campaign, although it’s technically feasible that he could be quickly outrighted to the Sox’ alternate site and selected back to the roster in the event of an injury.
Detwiler, 34, was an early surprise for the Sox, rattling off 12 1/3 shutout frames across his first nine appearances of the season. The well-traveled southpaw punched out 10 hitters and walked none in that time, although the complete absence of and a .138 BABIP each looked quite unsustainable. Detwiler has yielded seven runs (only five earned) on eight hits and five walks in the 7 1/3 subsequent innings — with two of those hits clearing the fence for home runs. He carries a sharp 3.20 ERA and 3.89 FIP on the season as a whole, but that’s been his only real success at the MLB level since 2014.
Both Bummer and Rodon will join the bullpen for a Sox club that has lost its grip on the AL Central lead, now sitting a half game back of a Twins team it topped thrice in last week’s best-of-four series. Healthy versions of Bummer and Rodon would surely help their cause. The former established himself as a breakout bullpen star for the Sox just last year, firing 67 2/3 frames of 2.13 ERA ball with a 60-to-24 K/BB ratio. That showing earned him a five-year, $16MM contract extension with a pair of club options over the winter.
Rodon, the former No. 3 overall draft pick, was once viewed as a foundational piece for the Sox’ rotation but has seen his career slowed by Tommy John surgery and shoulder troubles. Of Rodon’s 95 career appearances at the MLB level, all but three have been starts. However, given the missed time in 2020, it’s unlikely he could be built back up to take a rotation spot. He could conceivably be a multi-inning relief weapon for skipper Rick Renteria in the playoffs, but we’ll first see how he looks in his return to game action over the next four days.