Joakim Soria did his job, and now it’s Kodi Medeiros’ turn

White Sox rebuilt the veteran closer's value and traded him for a former first-round pick

It’s not often the White Sox can say this about a veteran acquisition, so get ready to drop the balloons:

Joakim Soria’s tenure worked out as planned for everybody.

He came. He saw. He soaked up some saves, figured out how to engineer an above-average strikeout rate without other worrisome peripherals, and now he’ll get a chance to conquer with the Brewers.

If Soria made the Sox sound a little like a rebound relationship, it pretty much was.

“I enjoyed my time here,” said Soria, who will join the Brewers on Friday in San Francisco. “I like the guys in here; the chemistry in here was really good. I always had fun with this group, but this is business and I’m going to a new team and new family. I’m going to try to get to the playoffs.”

But that’s fine, because that was always the best-case scenario, and the White Sox acquired an interesting-enough prospect for a rental closer in Kodi Medeiros.

Instead, it’s the Royals who have to answer the embarrassing questions. They’re the ones who kicked Soria to Chicago, and only to save the $9 million owed to Soria in 2018 (they kicked in $1 million to cover the buyout in the mutual option). The White Sox sent nothing Kansas City’s way in the three-player trade, and that $1 million is now with the Brewers.

Over the last few weeks, Royals fans … have noticed.

The worst part is the Royals didn’t even do a straight two-team salary dump trade. They added in one of their more valuable available controllable trade assets in Scott Alexander and basically attached a salary dump to his return in a three-team deal, almost surely significantly hurting the return they got. I don’t why they did this (as this goes against a general rebuilding team’s goal in acquiring the most talent possible).


Rany Jazayerli’s point is a slight overstatement, because I wouldn’t use the same descriptor on Medeiros (a first-round pick in 2014) and Wilber Perez (a 20-year-old righty pitching in the Dominican Summer League). Still, even if Medeiros only meets his most likely outcome as a left-handed situational reliever, it’s better than what the Royals received for Soria, which was the privilege of giving $1 million to a division rival to avoid paying $8-9 million for a useful reliever.

* * *  * * *  * * *

As for Medeiros, “likely LOOGY” seems to be his track. He hasn’t hit the upper half of his projections when the Brewers drafted him with the 14th-overall pick.

There’s still room and reason for him to start, because the results are there. He has a 3.14 ERA and 107 strikeouts over 103 inning as a 22-year-old in Double-A Biloxi, so everybody’s seen worse. The counterpoint is that he’s already running a 10 percent walk rate, and nine unearned runs buoy that ERA, so his stats have a superficial sheen to them.

The numbers alone suggest he could go either way, but the evaluators, who have seen Medeiros’ stuff stall without the command to compensate since draft day, are leaning toward relief work, whether it’s Eric Longenhagen:

Baseball America:

Scouts this year who have seen Medeiros say that he has to ease up in order to get the ball in the zone. Those control and command issues have equated to a walk rate of 4.5 per nine innings during his career. Without improvement, he’s likely to wind up in the bullpen.

Keith Law:

I have never bought into Medeiros as anything more than a LH specialist.

Or 2080Baseball:

Medeiros’ command projects to fringe average out of the pen, as he lacks the physicality and consistency to repeat for long stretches. His command backed up on him as his 96-pitch outing wore on.

Sure enough, he’s showing a bullpen profile in his splits. He’s built a lot of his Double-A numbers on his success against left-handed batters:

  • vs. RHB: .261/.359/.384
  • vs. LHB: .160/.254/.280

Righties aren’t killing him (yet), so the Sox can keep running him out there and see if they can address the repeatability issues. His slider can defuse matchup advantages when it’s on.

The White Sox should know something about Medeiros, because they’ve seen plenty of him over the last two years. He’s faced the Birmingham Barons just once this year with Biloxi, but he pitched against the Winston-Salem Dash six times in 2017 as a member of the High-A Carolina Mudcats. They’ve seen him pitch well, and they’ve seen him pitch poorly. They probably have an idea or two, but whether it can work is a more open question.

Medeiros arrived at the White Sox just in time, because MLB Pipeline had just updated its top 30 prospect list. There isn’t question about whether Medeiros’ ranking is in the middle of a bunch of stale numbers. Instead, it appears that he’s in the right neighborhood:

17. Zack Burdi
18. Konnor Pilkington
19. Kodi Medeiros
20. Jordan Stephens
21. Jimmy Lambert

The fact that Medeiros is already tough on lefties means the White Sox will probably have to put him on the 40-man roster after the season. When Ian Clarkin already occupies a spot, that’s merely a matter of simple accounting.

It feels like a slightly light return given the consensus bullpen projections, but I’ll give it time. Medeiros has a high floor with a little bit of ceiling left in terms of his MLB utility, and the White Sox sent some cash with Soria, so they presumably acquired a player they wanted. Who can say whether that means anything, but adding to the Lambert level of prospects serves a purpose at this stage.

We’ll have a better idea once the rental relief market comes to a close on July 31. The Nationals could flood it, as they’re contemplating ditching impending free agents like Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madson and Shawn Kelley if they flop in a four-game set against the Marlins this weekend.

The Nationals won the opener 10-3, so perhaps the deadline will light the fire they needed. If it doesn’t, Herrera could be dealt for the second time this season, and Royals fans once again will prepare for yet another troubling reflection of front office fortunes.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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This fits nicely into Dan Szymborski’s Twitter screed about the Royals (as recapped in this Kansas City Star article).

Brett R. Bobysud

Has there been any indication from the Front Office what role Medeiros is going to have (starter or reliever)? I’m assuming he’s going to be assigned to Birmingham.

Brett R. Bobysud

Also, I think ultimately swapping Jake Peter for Medeiros is probably a nice end result.

Trooper Galactus

Sure looks like they sold high on Peter. Since his big AAA breakout last season, he’s slashing .234/.299/.355 with the Dodgers’ affiliate. That’s not a good way to punch your ticket to the show when you’re a utility infielder with middling fielding skills.

Brett R. Bobysud

Medeiros assigned to Birmingham. Now let’s see if he takes Burr’s spot in the bullpen or if he slots into the rotation.


I recall Royals Fans being quite happy to be rid of Soria and mocking the Sox for paying a “washed up” reliever $9mil.


Regarding the relief market, from what I read it sounded like a relatively flooded market tilted toward buyers.

Greg Nix



The homestand promotion everyone was waiting for!


He’s been solid yet unremarkable all year. His K/9 is up higher than he’s had it in the upper minors.

Not exciting, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Vieira up too and Volstad sent town. I’m okay with Danish coming up and certainly okay with Volstad going down. Vieira does not appear to have done anything to merit a call up.
Basically pitching-wise the rest of the way, I’d love to see auditions for Kopech, Stephens, Hamilton. Fulmer only if he strings together a few good relief appearances in a row which he hasn’t yet.


I think the reason that Vieira is up is because the Sox want to see how he’s progressed and if he’s still worth a 40-man spot, since the team will need to make some decisions before next year’s Rule V.

That also might lead to them not calling up someone like Hamilton who would need to be added to the 40-man, since it’s easier to add him after Rule V for the 2019 season.

Of course, it really shouldn’t be too difficult to clear space by waiving players like Garneau, LaMarre, Skole or Clarkin.


Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to see Kopech and the others come up, as long as Rick Hahn is in charge, these guys will not be brought up until they all well past being ready. There is no reason Eloy and Kopech should not be up now. This does not bode well for seeing Cease or any of the others risers up in 2019.

Eagle Bones

I don’t think I’d paint with too wide a brush on the promotions. I have a feeling they’d be less patient if/when they’re actually competitive again and wins mean something. I do think they’re being a little overly conservative right now, but it’s not really a huge deal unless they take it to the extreme and actually start trying to hold these guys down until Super Two next year or something.


It will always be something. Remember last year when Lopez was brought up much later than he should have. This year it’s Kopech and Eloy. Next year it will be a few others.

Eagle Bones

They obviously weren’t winning last year either.


And they probably won’t be winning next year either since our studs are not getting major league experience this year.

Eagle Bones

I kind of doubt Eloy getting an extra three weeks in the majors is going to make much of a difference in next season’s W/L record.


So how long do we wait on Kopech and eloy? The Braves had Acuna race thru three levels of the minors last year and brought him up early this year. They had Albies up at the beginning. And look what they are doing. If Hahn was in charge of the Braves, Acuna would still be in AA. Just because they’re not winning doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be up. Hahn even said when they’re ready they’ll be up. Does anyone really believe Eloy should still be in AAA?

Eagle Bones

No, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be up, but it reduces the urgency.




My prediction is Eloy will make his MLB debut on 8/6 vs. the Yankees. It certainly would be nice to have him in the lineup that week against the Yankees and Indians, to spark a little extra enthusiasm against two playoff teams.

Eagle Bones

Vieira has walked a few too many, but it also looks like he’s gotten pretty unlucky. Low strand rate and high BABIP. It’s worth taking a look at him.

Josh Nelson


in September.

Eagle Bones

September, August, who cares? I know everyone is all hot and bothered about Hamilton right now, but this isn’t like some indefensible move.

Josh Nelson

It is when Eloy Jimenez is hitting like he has.

The White Sox need to dump the 8-man bullpen because it’s leading to some bad managing tendencies from Rick Renteria. It’s fine if they call up Danish or Vieria to replace Soria, but when they DFA Volstad it’s an opportunity to call someone up that’s worth a damn.

We’ve seen what Danish can do. His impact is limited. Vieira is going to be an adventure when on the mound as he’ll strikeout a lot of hitters and walk a lot of them, too. Pick one, but not both.

This is a good time to call up Eloy or Michael Kopech because AAA is not challenging them. They should not have to wait for a James Shields trade or an outfielder hurts themselves to call up either of them. Start moving the rebuild forward.


I agree with you 100% Josh. It’s time to see what these guys can do.

Eagle Bones

I guess I don’t see Kopech/Eloy being connected at all to these moves. I would disagree with the 8 man pen. The rotation is still pretty shaky and Shields is probably moved soon (removing the guy that’s probably the most likely to work deeper into his starts). I also kind of feel like Renteria would manage the pen this same way even if you reduced the pen to 7. Danish and Vieira should both get a look. It’s not like they called up some vet journeyman, these guys could be contributors going forward.


Why have Delmonico and/or Engel blocking the path of Eloy. It is very, very likely that neither player will have any part in future White Sox success. Let Eloy get used to major league life.

The Wimperoo

Danish is 23 (he will be the youngest guy on the staff) and has pitched a grand total of 6 2/3 MLB innings. I’m for giving him another chance to see if he’s competent. He’s been pretty good this year in his role in Charlotte.
OTOH Vieira hasn’t proven anything thus far in his minor league career. I roll with you on him.


It’s not indefensible, but when the reasons for defense range from superficial (too many lefties to add Bummer) to plausible if conservative (not enough AAA IP for Hamilton) to tedious roster management (not wanting to add Hamilton to the 40-man, but being willing to add Danish), it’s not hard to see why fans of a team on pace for 100+ losses would want to see someone interesting who’s earned a promotion instead of two guys who haven’t.

Eagle Bones

Fair enough. I don’t really see these moves as something to get all pissy about. There have been moves like that during this rebuild, but I don’t see these as that. Seems like everyone is pissed because we haven’t seen Eloy and Kopech yet and these moves are getting lumped in with those non-moves.

Josh Nelson

I really don’t understand your point of view. The White Sox opened up two spots on their 25-man roster. Instead of filling those gaps with their best prospects, they picked two, maybe, mid-tier guys who are just guys. You call this “non-moves” when it opened an opportunity to see players who have merit.

Eagle Bones

I mean, I don’t demand they call their prospects up in the order they’re ranked by BA and Fangraphs. It’s not like either of these moves prevent them from calling those guys up. There is plenty of dead weight on the roster that can be removed to create space whenever they’re ready to bring them up. I’ve been under the assumption for a couple of weeks that they were going to wait until the deadline passed to call Kopech up (likely when Shields is moved). If that comes and goes and he’s still down for several more weeks, I’ll probably join in being more annoyed. Eloy I’d like to see up and believe he’s ready, but I can see a reasonable argument for them to take it slow with him given the injuries and lack of time at AAA.


Yeah, I’m not that upset about not seeing Eloy and Kopech yet. Obviously I’d like to.

The thing that bothers me is how little regard the FO has had for adhering to any notion of fairness with regards to these promotions.

It’s ridiculous that Danish who has been, at best, mediocre in his third time through Charlotte and Vieira, who can’t seem to find the zone in Charlotte, get promoted over a fast-riser with a great performance in AAA (Hamilton) and another fast-riser with successful MLB experience who’s also doing well in Charlotte.

It’s ridiculous that Giolito, for whom his latest run of effectively replacement level starts constitute a significant improvement, continues to hold a rotation slot when Kopech and Stephens have both performed well in Charlotte.

It’s ridiculous that Daniel Palka, a league average hitter that is charitably described as an outfielder, continues to get a roster spot while Jimenez is making a fool out of yet another league.


Giolito is an exception. He is expected to be part of future success and has only one option left, so you don’t want to waste that now. But you are right about the others. Why litter the roster with guys who won’t be here in two years, when there are others who deserve to be promoted.

Eagle Bones

You guys have probably been watching a lot more of the games than I have, and, if that’s the case, I understand the additional frustration. I guess it doesn’t really bother me because the guys they’re playing still have some semblance of upside (as opposed to a Donn Roach or someone like that). I actually thought it was more egregious what they did with keeping Stephens and Guerrero at AA to open the season, that was really odd. Hopefully some of these guys will get called up soon and provide a better product to watch.


We can only hope. I’m really sick of watching the Sox lose with a bunch of guys who have no real future.


At last Vieira is up! Let’s see the heat!

And so long volstad. Hope danish can’t somehow be worse.

Brett R. Bobysud

This is probably going to get cans or tomatos thrown at my head, but Eloy hasn’t hit 100 PAs for the Knights yet (he’s at 88). Can’t remember if it was Hahn or someone else who said they want guys to get at least 100 PAs at each level, but that is out there.


I’m sure those next 12 PAs will convince Hahn that he’s ready!!

Josh Nelson

MiLB roster moves. How novel of an idea to replace two relievers with using one of those spots on an outfielder.


Wow! he didn’t replace them with two journeyman pitchers?


That’s why Hamilton stayed down.  So Charlotte could get their turn at the Hamilton – Burr jokes.   It’s only fair.  


May I recommend waiting until the trade deadline to rage-stroke about the 25 man roster?

Josh Nelson



Speaking of the cavalcade of bullpen arms, Greg Holland has been terrible and reports have the Cardinals ready to release him. If he doesn’t catch on with anyone this season, he’s a prime candidate for salvage in 2019.

lil jimmy

Coop would take one look at Holland and know right where to put his finger in the Dyke.

Brett R. Bobysud

Probably won’t end up like this, but how would this bullpen look in 2019 or 2020?

RHP: Hamilton, Burr, Johnson, Burdi, Fulmer
LHP: Fry, Medeiros