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The White Sox made a flurry of transactions on Wednesday — four moves, all of a different kind. The list includes:
Jose Abreu to the disabled list
Abreu underwent an unspecified outpatient procedure on his lower abdomen/groin at Rush University Medical Center. The Sox said he’ll be able to return to baseball activities in two weeks, so that basically spoils his chances of a fifth straight 100-RBI season, as he’ll need to pick up 22 of them within a few weeks if everything goes well. A fifth consecutive 25-homer season is still within reach.
Some rotation of Matt Davidson, Nicky Delmonico and Daniel Palka will handle the position while he’s away. Palka has minor-league experience there, although he’s got a couple years of rust to knock off.
Jose Rondon recalled
With the nominal corner outfielders being pressed into first-base duties, the White Sox could have called up a real corner outfielder in Eloy Jimenez. However, if they wanted to create a Kopechian event on the South Side, then a short-notice day game isn’t going to cut it.
Instead, the Sox recalled Jose Rondon to handle the potential loss of depth at third base, since Rondon is going to be part of the September plans, anyway. Two fun facts about Rondon: 1) He has more homers (18) than walks (16) at Charlotte, and 2) his Triple-A and MLB lines are virtually identical:
- Chicago: .245/.288/.490 over 52 PA
- Charlotte: .249/.290/.495 over 336 PA
He’s back to the majors before Tyler Saladino, who was pressed out of the majors after Milwaukee added Jonathan Schoop and Mike Moustakas.
Ryan Burr added
It was kind of the White Sox to place Ryan Burr on the 40-man roster. In my post about the 40-man bubble, Burr was my chief example of the kind of guy who would get the priority lane due to Rule 5 draft eligibility.
Not to say Burr lucked out, because he’s been dominant since the start of June: 30.2 IP, 16 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 10 BB, 37 K, 0.59 ERA, .405 OPS allowed. He didn’t make his debut during the victory over Minnesota on Wednesday, which is fortunate since he barely slept, getting the call after Charlotte’s late-night doubleheader against Norfolk.
Luis Avilan traded
The Sox made room for Burr on both the 40-man and 25-man rosters by dealing Luis Avilan to the Phillies for Double-A righty Felix Paulino.
With Caleb Frare and Kodi Medeiros eligible for the Rule 5 draft, the Sox weren’t going to need six or seven lefties on the 40-man roster, so it made sense to move Avilan to a team he could help in September. He did what he could for the White Sox, leading the team with 58 appearances and racking up 46 strikeouts to 14 walks over 39⅔ innings.
By finding takers for Avilan and Joakim Soria, Rick Hahn went 2-for-2 in the three-team deal. Both veteran relievers gave the Sox quality work for a team that needed it, and both pitched well enough to land a pitching prospect in return.
Paulino doesn’t appear to be much of a prospect from the numbers alone. The 23-year-old righty has a 3.91 ERA and just 74 strikeouts over 92 innings. He’s also eligible for the Rule 5 draft, although one benefit to his rough introduction to Double-A is that he might lack suitors.
Felix Paulino is actually an interesting arm. 23 year old Dominican will show a fastball that will sit low 90s up to 95. Throws a cutter and a slider. Changeup is a clear third pitch and his command has always been a problem. Middle reliever ceiling https://t.co/8KqK08hGv3
— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) August 22, 2018
Paulino hasn’t looked like much as a starter at Double-A Reading, although he didn’t really miss a ton of bats out of the bullpen at High-A Clearwater, either. Whatever the Sox see in him doesn’t show up in the stat line.
And maybe there just isn’t much to Paulino, because the move is just as much about opening a spot on the big-league roster for other lefties. The Sox will likely be adding Caleb Frare to the mix, and Aaron Bummer has spent just about the entire year in Charlotte. It’s unfair to call Avilan redundant since he’s proven to be a reliable MLB bullpen arm and the others haven’t, but since next year marks his last arbitration season, it makes more sense to spent this part of the rebuild evaluating what else is in the house.