On this morning’s episode of the Sox Machine Podcast, Greg and I answered a question from asinwreck about Adam Engel‘s fragility, and what impact it has on the White Sox’s postseason hopes. The summary of my answer is that he’s a luxury until he isn’t. When Luis Robert and Eloy Jiménez are healthy, it’s hard to say Engel should play every day. When one of them isn’t, Engel should not only be starting, but sometimes he’s a great candidate to bat toward the top of the order.
That the White Sox placed Adam Engel on the 10-day injured list today retroactive to Saturday for a different body part (left shoulder) than the one identified as the reason for his exit during the Field of Dreams Game (groin) suggests that his availability will be an ongoing concern. He’d missed a couple games with shoulder soreness late last month, and he’d missed a couple months with two different IL stints for his hamstring, so his path to regular playing time looks a little like a minefield.
Leury García was already on the 7-day concussion IL after bonking his head on the fence when attempting to catch Giancarlo Stanton’s ninth-inning homer, so all of the backup duties will fall to Brian Goodwin, with Jake Lamb as somebody who can stand in a corner if needed.
Engel’s return to the IL was part of a five-pack of moves the White Sox made today, and the rest of them seem to protect against a surge in innings, as the White Sox are in the middle of 26 games in 27 days:
- Optioned Matt Foster to Charlotte, recalled Ryan Burr
- Added Mike Wright to the 40- and 26-man rosters
- Designated Zack Burdi for assignment.
Foster and Burr are effectively the same guy when it comes to leverage and use cases, but Foster has pitched on consecutive days, so Burr gives Tony La Russa a pitcher he can use today.
Wright, who will make a future Sporcle Saturday quiz as a non-roster invitee to play for the White Sox if and when he appears in a game, has been Charlotte’s most impressive starting pitcher after spending 2020 in the KBO. His 6.00 ERA over 110 games suggests you should keep expectations low, but he’s done what he can to impress by posting a 3.40 ERA in Charlotte. He’s only struck out 90 over 95⅓ innings, it’s accompanied by a higher than usual ground-ball rate (48 percent).
He’s in Chicago to step into the long-relief role formerly occupied by Reynaldo López. With Dallas Keuchel going tonight and López scheduled to start Wednesday in place of Carlos Rodón, there may be need for middle-inning coverage. Jimmy Lambert might’ve been the one to get the call, except he just started on Sunday. Wright had availability and experience on his side.
That leads to Burdi, whose 8.27 ERA over 14 games with the White Sox the last two years looks less like a small sample when it’s paired with a 7.30 ERA over 23 games in Charlotte this year. His 30-percent strikeout rate doesn’t play up when it’s paired with 15 walks and eight homers allowed over 24⅔ innings in Triple-A. You can chalk some of that up to Truist Field, but we’ve also seen how Burdi’s mistakes go a long way, and he makes his fair share of them.
There’s a chance he could sneak through waivers, although his first-round pedigree and three-pitch potential could draw interest from another team. If his time with the White Sox is over, it closes the book on the Jeff Samardzija trade and makes me the most prominent Downers Grove South graduate associated with the Sox, neither of which is what the club wanted.
(Photo of Mike Wright by Laura Wolff / Charlotte Knights)
I believe Wright would be NRI number five for the Sox this season? (Andrew Vaughn, Ryan Burr, Alex McRae, and Nick Williams comprising the other four)
Vaughn is considered an NRI? He wasn’t on the 40-man? I’m not sure about the nuances here.
If Burdi gets picked up by another club, is he automatically on the 26-man or just the 40-man (or something else)?