White Sox promote Nick Madrigal, DFA Kelvin Herrera

Three days after locking in an extra year of team control, the White Sox called up Nick Madrigal in advance of tonight’s opener in Kansas City.

To make room for him, the Sox designated Kelvin Herrera, which is significant news on its own.

First, Madrigal. Unlike the other highly touted position players the White Sox have promoted over the last few seasons, Madrigal surfaces with the lowest expectations, at least in terms of GIF-worthy, Statcast-melting buzz. He’s not much for pulling the ball in the air at the moment, so his contributions are likely to be limited to mostly singles and hustle doubles. His game is about winning on the margins — few strikeouts to erode his contributions at the plate, good defense at second base, aggressive baserunning that helps more than it hurts, and a borderline rabid competitive streak.

Running with Madrigal carries potential risk, but not much. He looked ready late last year, but the White Sox avoided promoting him in September to delay the start of his service-time accumulation. Rushing him, especially in 2020’s warped competitive environment, isn’t really a concern.

Madrigal might beat a lot of quality pitches into the ground and get thrown out by a step at first base too often in his first months as a White Sox, but that’s kinda what Leury García is doing already, at least when he faces right-handed pitchers. The upgrade in defense should be worth it in the short term, with the reps during an uncertain season paying off in the long run.

As for Herrera, pitching him was counterproductive. Not only was he likely their worst regular right-handed reliever, but every time he pitched, the White Sox drew an outing closer to guaranteeing his $10 million option for 2021. Herrera needed 21 of those in 2020, but he only made two appearances — the latter featuring two homers over two innings in the finale of the Twins series — before the White Sox decided they’d seen enough.

Herrera finished the White Sox portion of his two-year, $18 million contract with a 6.54 ERA over 59 games. The signing wasn’t a bad idea on paper, but given that Herrera was coming off a torn Lisfranc ligament in his left foot, it wasn’t without risk, either.

Sure enough, Herrera’s velocity dropped. While he was effective for about the first five weeks of his tenure, but his back locked up during an ill-fated outing against Boston in early May 2019, and he wasn’t the same after. His ERA with the White Sox hovered above 6.00 for his last 38 outings.

With Madrigal up, Nomar Mazara is the only piece missing from the White Sox’s ultimate 2020 lineup, and he’s tuning up in Schaumburg. For the time being, García can help in a corner outfield spot to help the Sox get away from Nicky Delmonico if they so choose.

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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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As Cirensica

If a team grabs Herrera (the Marlins might be desperate enough), and he compiles the sufficient appearances, is the White Sox on the hook for those 10 million?

Herrera => Hahn’s free agent signing that didn’t work out piles higher today.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan

I’m guessing Kelvin’s already blown a lot of that cash at those cockfights….

Trooper Galactus

No, the team that takes him on would assume the contract and be responsible for the option. Herrera won’t be playing anywhere else until he receives his outright release from the organization.

asinwreck

He’s breaking with recent tradition. #94 will not join #88 and #74 in the lineup.

The smallest guy on the team should always wear No. 1 and that's what the 5-foot-7 Nick Madrigal will do.

— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) July 31, 2020

David

No, in this shortened season, the smallest guy should wear # 1/8 in honor of Eddie Gaedel.

lil jimmy

I went to Spring training 06- 17 and there was a little old guy who wore #1 . A coach I guess, more an honored citizen.
Ramrod posture, maybe 5’6″ . Anyone know who he was?
(Drake is not the correct answer)

GrinnellSteve

It’s not surprising considering that I have a Nellie avatar that I am anxious for the Madrigal era to begin.

Eagle Bones

So now that the lineup seems to be sorting itself out to some degree, I’d like to move on to a new grievance: I’m sure keuchel and mccann are buddies and all, but he seems like the worst starter to have McCann catch considering how much he needs to live on the edges of the zone. I’m fine with giving him one of the starters to work with repeatedly, but can they pick a different one? Your catcher doesnt have to have gone to the same college as you.

iowasox1971

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Keuchel has won both of his starts with McCann behind the plate, and they seem to work well together.

McCann is more valuable than you might think. He knows the tendencies of the American League hitters very well, and he’s shown an ability to out-think them in certain situations. Grandal, who rarely caught in games against AL teams in the past, doesn’t yet have a lot of that knowledge about these hitters.

David

Please let his walkup music be a madrigal.

shaggy65

Am I the only one hoping that this pushes Leury to the bench and Engel keeps starting in RF? He looks better than Sweet Leu in the field and at the plate right now.