The White Sox have signed left-hander Ricardo Sánchez to a minor league deal, according to his transactions tracker at MLB.com.
Sánchez, 26 in April, has already bounced around a fair bit in his career. He started with the Angels but has since been traded to the Braves, then to the Mariners and claimed off waivers by the Cardinals.
That latter transaction came in February of 2020, which proved to be a rollercoaster of a year for Sánchez. After the opening of the season was delayed by COVID-19, Sánchez tested positive for the virus in July. He was later cleared to return to action and was recalled, making his MLB debut in August. He tossed 5 1/3 innings over three appearances with a 6.75 ERA. Unfortunately, he went to the injured list later in the season due to pain in his throwing elbow and was outrighted off the roster at season’s end.
That elbow pain led to Tommy John surgery for Sánchez in October of 2020, wiping out his entire 2021 season. He was able to return to the mound last year, pitching in Triple-A for both the Phillies and the Tigers. His return from that missed season didn’t go especially well, as he posted a 4.95 ERA in 116 1/3 innings over 26 starts. His 19.8% strikeout rate was subpar but he got grounders on roughly half the balls in play and his 7.9% walk rate was solid. It’s possible he deserved better than that ERA suggests, as his 67.8% strand rate on the year was on the unlucky side, leading to a 4.45 FIP.
Sánchez is still young and was identified as an intriguing prospect as a teenager. Baseball America considered him the #3 prospect in the Angels’ system going into 2015. Many years have passed since then but the southpaw threw 146 Double-A innings in 2019 with a 4.44 ERA and 3.40 FIP. After two mostly lost seasons, he didn’t quite match that production in 2022, but perhaps he will find better results now that he’s further removed from his lengthy absence.
For the White Sox, starting depth is a notable area of the club’s overall outlook. They should have a strong front four in Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn and Michael Kopech, but things get a little murky after that. They signed Mike Clevinger in the offseason to a one-year deal, though it’s possible he could be facing a suspension at some point since he’s under investigation for domestic violence allegations. Beyond that group, the club’s depth options on the 40-man roster include Davis Martin, Jonathan Stiever, A.J. Alexy and Jimmy Lambert. That’s a fairly inexperienced group at the MLB level, with none of them having reached 65 innings yet in their respective careers.
Sánchez will give the club a bit of starting depth without taking up a roster spot. If he’s able to earn his way back on at some point, he has less than a year of service time but he is out of options, meaning he wouldn’t be able to be sent back down to the minors without first being exposed to waivers.