The White Sox announced this afternoon that they have claimed right-hander Alex Speas off waivers from the Rangers. Speas had been designated for assignment by Texas earlier this week to make room for right-hander Matt Bush on the club’s 40-man roster. To clear space for Speas on Chicago’s own 40-man, outfielder Tyler Naquin was released.
Speas, 25, made his major league debut for the Rangers back in July. He ultimately made just three appearances with the club, during which he allowed three runs on two hits and five walks while striking out four. Speas’s control issues were immediately apparent in his cup of coffee this summer, and a look at his numbers in the minors quickly reveals it’s been a persistent issue throughout his career. His 15.5% walk rate in the minors this season was actually the lowest of his career. Still, it’s easy to see why the White Sox were interested in taking a chance on Speas given his big-time stuff, including a four-seam fastball that touches 100 mph along with a mid-90s cutter and a low-90s slider.
As for Naquin, the 32-year-old outfielder appeared in just five games in the majors this season, ultimately striking out in seven of his eight plate appearances with the White Sox in 2023. Still, Naquin has now appeared in each of the past eight big league seasons, posted a decent .257/.317/.408 slash line at the Triple-A level this year, and was a roughly league average contributor in the big leagues as recently as last year, when he slashed .229/.282/.423 in 105 games split between the Reds and the Mets. Naquin’s recent history of big league success should leave him with little trouble finding a job ahead of the 2024 campaign, though it’s fair to expect that he’ll once again have to settle for a minor league deal and the opportunity to earn a roster spot during Spring Training.