The White Sox have acquired right-hander Franklin German from the Red Sox in exchange for righty Theo Denlinger. Both teams have announced the trade, and the White Sox also announced that right-hander Jason Bilous was designated for assignment to create roster space.
Boston designated German for assignment earlier this week, in a bit of a surprising move given that the Red Sox had named German their minor league pitcher of the year. German had a 2.72 ERA and a very impressive 32.49% strikeout rate over 49 2/3 total innings between Boston’s Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, all in bullpen work. This performance earned German his first bit of Major League action, though he had an 18.00 ERA over his four innings in the Show.
2022 was German’s first season as a full-time reliever, as he started to run into some struggles working his way up the ladder as a minor league starter. It could be that the move to the bullpen might be a turning point for the 25-year-old German, and the White Sox seem interested in seeing if his 97mph fastball can translate to consistent results as a relief pitcher.
On the flip side, the Red Sox are also picking up a live arm in Denlinger, who has a 35.02% strikeout rate over 65 innings in the minors. Denlinger only began his pro career in 2021 when Chicago drafted him in the seventh round, but the 26-year-old already advanced to Double-A last season, albeit with a 4.70 ERA over 38 1/3 frames with Double-A Birmingham. Home runs contributed to that total, so if Denlinger can improve on keeping the ball in the park, a Triple-A promotion and maybe even a cup of coffee in the majors isn’t inconceivable for 2023.
Bilous, 25, was added to Chicago’s 40-man roster last offseason in advance of the Rule 5 Draft, though he was coming off a shaky season at the high-A and Double-A levels. Unfortunately for Bilous, those struggles continued into 2022, as he posted a 6.30 ERA over 105 2/3 combined innings (83 2/3 at Double-A, 22 at Triple-A). While his strikeout rates were still respectable, Bilous’ walk rate spiked to 15.74%. It is possible that a bullpen move could conceivably be in Bilous’ future as well, though his four-pitch arsenal might lead the White Sox or another club to continue to explore a future as a starter.