- The White Sox released outfielder Jacob May on Saturday, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Now 26, May was once a well-regarded prospect with the Sox, who chose him in the the third round of the 2013 draft. May was unable to produce much with the bat as he climbed through the minor league ranks, though, and he slashed a ghastly .056/.150/.056 during a 42-plate appearance major league debut last season. He opened 2018 with Triple-A Charlotte and hit an underwhelming .255/.303/.341 with two home runs and 15 stolen bases in 342 PAs prior to his release.
White Sox Rumors
This is the second time this weekend the Yankees have landed international money in a trade, as they acquired $1MM from the Cardinals in a three-player deal on Saturday. Expectations are that the Yankees, who entered this year’s international period with the standard bonus pool of $4,983,500, will spend some of their newfound cash on Cuban pitching prospect Osiel Rodriguez.
New York will now say goodbye to Frare, whom it selected in the 11th round of the 2012 draft. The 25-year-old did not rank among the Yankees’ top 30 prospects at MLB.com prior to the trade, though he did dominate at the Double-A level this season. Frare recently earned a promotion to Triple-A Scranton, where he only threw one inning, after opening 2018 with a .62 ERA/2.24 FIP and 11.75 K/9 against 3.09 BB/9 across 43 2/3 Double-A frames. Earlier this season, Frare’s manager at Trenton, Jay Bell, told Randy Miller of NJ.com that “he’s starting to figure it out,” thanks in part to a fastball that sits in the 93-94 mph range. Frare will report to Triple-A Charlotte with his new organization, the White Sox announced.
The White Sox announced Friday that they’ve designated right-hander Chris Volstad for assignment. His spot on the 25- and 40-man rosters will go to right-hander Tyler Danish, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Charlotte. The ChiSox also called up right-handed reliever Thyago Vieira from Charlotte to join the big league bullpen.
Volstad, 31, has soaked up 47 1/3 innings for an ugly Chicago pitching staff so far in 2018, though he’s posted an ungainly 6.27 ERA with 5.5 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 in that time. Those 47 1/3 frames are the most he’s totaled in a big league season since 2012; in fact, it’s a greater total than the combined number of MLB innings Volstad threw from 2013-17. The Sox have a week to trade him or run him through outright waivers, and it stands to reason that there’s a good chance he’ll clear and have the opportunity to remain in the organization at Triple-A.
Danish, 23, was one of Chicago’s better pitching prospects for a few years but cleared waivers and was removed from the 40-man roster last offseason. He’s had a nice run in Charlotte this season, though, notching a 3.06 ERA with 6.4 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and a 51.1 percent ground-ball rate in 64 2/3 innings of work. All but two of Danish’s 29 appearances have come in relief, so it seems the organization will see how the former starter fares out of the bullpen moving forward.
As for Vieira, the 25-year-old flamethrower has had his struggles in Charlotte this year — his first in the organization. Chicago picked him up in a trade that sent international bonus considerations to the Mariners this past offseason, and while he’s averaged a heart 11 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in 2018, he’s also averaged 5.3 walks in that same span. Vieira averaged 98.7 mph on his fastball in last year’s brief MLB debut with the Mariners, and he’ll bring the ability to miss plenty of bats to the table on the South Side, even if control could prove to be an ongoing issue.
2:46pm: Chicago will send just over $1MM, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter).
12:23pm: The Brewers have officially agreed to a deal to acquire righty Joakim Soria from the White Sox, as first reportedy by MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). Former first-round pick Kodi Medeiros is one piece in the deal, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com (Twitter link), with Feinsand tweeting that righty Wilber Perez is the other.
Per the announcement, the White Sox will pay down an unstated portion of Soria’s contract. He’s earning $9MM this year — some of it still paid for by the Dodgers, as part of the three-team deal that sent him to Chicago — with a $1MM buyout still to come on a $10MM 2019 mutual option.
While his name hasn’t been circulated much around the rumor mill, Soria ranked 12th on MLBTR’s recent list of the top 75 trade deadline candidates on the basis of his strong showing thus far. He becomes the sixth of the first 13 names on that ranking to be dealt in the past week or so.
Soria, 34, has worked as the White Sox’ closer and carries a 2.56 ERA through 38 2/3 innings on the season. He’s sporting an impressive combination of 11.4 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9, buttressed by a career-best 14.6% swinging-strike rate.
There’s a lot to like about the way the veteran hurler is throwing right now. Soria is getting whiffs both by drawing quite a few more chases out of the zone (35.6%) than ever before and by holding opposing hitters to a 77.3% contact rate on pitches in the zone, which is also a career-best rate.
Soria carried sparkling peripherals last year, too, though he only ended the season with a 3.70 ERA, so he seems to be on something of a late-career run of excellence. The long-time late-inning hurler has tamped down on the home runs quite a bit over the past two seasons, allowing only three balls in total to leave the yard in that span.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- The White Sox have signed right-hander Asher Wojciechowski to a minor league deal, as announced by the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte (Twitter link). The 29-year-old opted out of his minors contract with the Orioles last week in order to test free agency, and he has quickly caught on with another organization. Wojciechowski received his first significant amount of MLB experience last season, tossing 62 1/3 innings over 25 appearances (eight of them starts) with the Reds, posting a 6.50 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 3.37 K/BB rate. The inflated ERA was due in large part to 14 homers allowed, as the righty has continually been plagued by the long ball from the Triple-A level and upwards.
- The White Sox have released outfielder Mason Robbins, James Fegan of The Athletic tweets. Robbins, 25, had been with the organization since it selected him in the 25th round of the 2014 draft. He only recorded a .688 OPS during his time in Chicago’s system and was even poorer this year as a member of its Triple-A team, with which he batted .265/.289/.367 in 226 plate appearances.
As an established veteran on a cellar-dwelling team, White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has come up often as a speculative trade candidate, but the club’s “strongly inclined” to retain him, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. The 31-year-old hasn’t exactly boosted his trade value this season, having hit a career-worst .250/.312/.435 (101 wRC+, compared to 139 from 2014-17) and accounted for a replacement-level WAR across 407 plate appearances. Regardless of whether the White Sox keep Abreu, he’s slated to go through arbitration once more over the winter. In the meantime, he’s on a $13MM salary this season.
- White Sox reliever Nate Jones suffered a setback in his recovery from a pronator muscle strain and will be shut down for two weeks, Scott Merkin of MLB.com tweets. The team still expects Jones to come back this year, Merkin adds, though it seems too late for him to emerge as an in-season trade chip. The 32-year-old Jones has already been out for more than a month, making this his second straight injury-shortened campaign. Jones, whom elbow problems limited to 11 2/3 innings last year, has thrown 24 2/3 frames this season and registered a 2.55 ERA/4.61 FIP with 9.85 K/9 and 5.11 BB/9.
A few notable players were activated from the disabled list today…
- The Mariners have activated right-hander Felix Hernandez; he’d been on the DL with lower back tightness, though it’s possible the DL stint had more to do with roster management than with the injury itself. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award-winner has continued to trend downwards this season, evidenced by a 5.13 ERA (and a 4.64 FIP that doesn’t paint a much more optimistic picture). He also sports a 7.43 K/9 that would be a full-season career low. In order to make room for the righty on the active roster, Seattle has optioned outfielder John Andreoli to Triple-A Tacoma.
- White Sox outfielder Nicky Delmonico will finally return after missing two months with a broken hand. After an intriguing 2017 rookie season in which he hit .262/.373/.482, the 26-year-old has failed to replicate that type of production. His .217 batting average and .292 slugging percentage are both dreadful disappointments across his first 139 plate appearances of 2018, though his 11.5% walk rate is a nice silver lining.
- Avisail Garcia will also make a return to the White Sox. The 27-year-old enjoyed a tremendous breakout campaign last season during which he batted at a .330 clip and slugged 18 homers across 561 plate appearances. However, the 2018 season has seen him walk at just a 1.4% clip, so while his .282 batting average is fairly impressive, his .297 on-base percentage looks almost like a liability. He’s managed to hit nine homers and six doubles across 148 plate appearances, though, which makes for a .542 slugging percentage.
While the focus this time of year is obviously on trade possibilities, the All-Star break also provides reporters an opportunity to ask players about their own long-term preferences. It’s not surprising, then, that we’ve seen a run of stories on players who won’t be traded away, but also aren’t under long-term control.
- The Red Sox have certainly enjoyed an excellent opening run, led by excellent performances from a number of core players. It’d be a surprise to see any mid-season dealmaking, but the club might be expected to look into some new arrangements in the offseason to come. Closer Craig Kimbrel represents the most pressing situation, since he’ll be a free agent. As Christopher Smith of MassLive.com reports, Kimbrel says he and his family would “love to stay” but certainly indicated he’ll wait to see what the market bears. Though he only arrived a few months ago, slugger J.D. Martinez says he’d be open to exploring a new pact that might eliminate some of his opt-out opportunities, as he tells Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com. Of course, there’s plenty of time left before he’s scheduled to have a shot at returning to the open market (post-2019), and there’s reason to wonder whether the organization really would want to pay up to enhance its control rights. In between those two players in terms of contract situation is staff ace Chris Sale. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe argues that, with one more option year left to go, the Boston organization ought to look into locking up the 29-year-old for the foreseeable future.
- It seemed at one time that infielder Jed Lowrie would feature as a trade chip, but the surging Athletics obviously now have no plans to sell. Instead, attention has turned to the question whether he might end up returning to Oakland at season’s end. As John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, Lowrie says the front office has “expressed interest this time” around — unlike the prior time his contract with the A’s was nearing an end. Lowrie, a first-time All-Star in his 11th MLB season, indicated that he’d be open to working something out to return for a sixth campaign in Oakland, though it’s not clear whether any effort at mid-season talks will be made.
- It’s a similar story for Braves outfielder Nick Markakis, another respected veteran who finally earned an All-Star nod. As Gabriel Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes, Markakis indicated he expects to keep playing after his contract runs out this fall — which is no surprise given his strong performance thus far. Whether that’ll take place in Atlanta or elsewhere, though, isn’t yet on his mind. “We’ll deal with that stuff in the offseason when the time comes,” says the veteran.
- Those sorts of questions have long floated around White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, who stands out as a quality veteran on a very youthful roster. As Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times reports, Abreu says he hopes to have a chance to win before his time is up in Chicago. His focus is on “just trying to enjoy the moment with the team” at the moment, but the slugger also indicated that he’s at least open to spending more time on the South Side. “I’d like to stay with this team,” says Abreu. “And I’m going to do all in my power to make this team good as soon as possible.”