Pitching notes: Garrett Crochet facing Tommy John surgery; Lucas Giolito avoids arbitration

(Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire)

Considering Tommy John surgery looked likely for Garrett Crochet when he walked off the mound during Game 3 of the Wild Card Series against Oakland in the 2020 postseason, you might consider him fortunate that he managed to avoid any arm troubles of note during the entirety of the 2021 season.

Alas, that’s cold comfort right now, because it appears that Crochet won’t be able to stave off the procedure this time.

Crochet left the mound in the eighth inning of Thursday night’s game against the Reds with an apparent arm injury, and Rick Hahn confirmed the direction this is all headed. He said the preliminary MRI reading showed damage to Crochet’s ulnar collateral ligament. Crochet will seek a second opinion before choosing a course, but it doesn’t sound good.

The White Sox bullpen is deep, but a lot of that talent is on the right side, even after the Sox dealt Craig Kimbrel to the Dodgers. The Sox had the luxury of Aaron Bummer relegating Crochet to second-lefty status, but the candidates backing them up on the 40-man roster are both unproven. Bennett Sousa looks like the natural candidate if the Sox want a second lefty, as he’s having a terrific spring after gradual, impressive improvement in the minors.

However, should the Sox not care so much about handedness, they would have the ability to open a roster spot for a non-roster pitcher once Crochet moves to the 60-day injured list. That puts somebody like Kyle Crick in play, although given the first month’s roster expansion, this could be an argument for both, rather than or the other, and the Sox will figure out who’s a better candidate for the second month of the season after April is over.


The White Sox salvaged some of the news cycle on the pitching front by avoiding a contentious arbitration hearing with Lucas Giolito. The two sides managed to bridge a measly $200,000 gap, with the White Sox settling closer to Giolito’s $7.5 million request at $7.45 million.

It’s a little funny that the gap ended up being $50,000, because that’s what Giolito’s camp said the divide was while they were talking. When it came time to file numbers, the disparity expanded slightly.

With Giolito in the fold, the White Sox are under terms with all players. As for the ones eligible for arbitration, here’s how they fared against their MLB Trade Rumors projections.

PlayerProjectedActual
Lucas Giolito$7.9M$7.45M
Reynaldo López$2.8M$2.625M
Adam Engel$2.2M$2M
Total$12.9M$12.075M

Author

  • 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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Wayne

$7.45-million was what Giolito wanted in pre-filing negotiations, with White Sox up to $7.40M. So Giolito got to where he wanted.

jorgefabregas

I wonder if Crochet will come back with 2020 velocity. If his arm gets that healthy again, I wonder if he would benefit from dialing down to 2021 velocity.

md03

I was thinking that and hope so, don’t remember last time I’ve seen 102 heat that consistently. Have a feeling we’ll see closer to the 97 mph stuff though.

asinwreck

Jim’s lede articulates my feelings, and now the Sox need to consider what this means for pitching depth. I’m less worried about replacing Crochet as the second lefty than I am about what Crochet was supposed to do this year replacing Kopech as Kopech steps into the rotation. ReLo and Velasquez now look to be the spot starters/long relief types, unless LaRussa wants to change the way Graveman or Kelly get used.

Really curious to see where Manaea and Montas go. Either would be a big help in Chicago.

HallofFrank

Good point about Crochet. It’s an opportunity for ReyLo, I think, if he can show some consistency.

As for Manaea or Montas — I wonder how much they’d have to add to Crochet to get one of them? The TJS is an enormous hit to Crochet’s value, obviously, so perhaps it’s unwise to sell low. But I suspect this is the watershed movement for Crochet to start from scratch and stretch him out to be a starter. If that is indeed the plan, he’s not a factor until 2024—and even then, he feels like more of a project. If they could avoid moving Montgomery/Sheets, maybe Crochet + Dalquist or Thompson is intriguing enough?

jhomeslice

I’ve always been in favor of trading Crochet despite his upside and impressiveness, because of the likelihood of what just happened. Interesting idea, since Manaea is just one year, what would it take in addition to Crochet to get him? I still like Crochet in 2024+, for a team like the A’s, might be worth it. For the Sox, given that he might not even be likely to contribute next year, I could see them being willing to deal him for a starter like those two.

I don’t want to see anybody else on their current roster dealt (Kopech, Vaughn, Sheets) for an A’s pitcher. Anybody in their minors is fair game, even Montgomery or Colas.

HallofFrank

It’s so hard to gauge his value at this point and I can think of a good precedent of trading a guy like this off the top of my head. The Sonny Gray trade is a good starting place for what it’d take to get a player like Manaea, although Manaea is younger and probably a bit better. I have to think Crochet + one of the HS pitchers gets the conversation started, but that’s likely a tad light. Crochet, Dalquist, and Adolfo seems reasonable, but the A’s may prefer one headliner instead.

calcetinesblancos

Was there a person alive that didn’t think Crochet was eventually going to have TJ? Bad timing. Maybe if he has it now he could be ready for next year, although I’d have to imagine they’ll send him to the minors for a bit once he’s healed.

a-t

The timing isn’t great but it isn’t as bad as the end of season TJ that Kopech needed, because that meant he had to miss almost two full years. Crochet will be back midway thru 2023.

a-t

Glad they gave Gio the money he asked for (and very much deserves). This kerfuffle with their young ace was not at all necessary but hopefully they haven’t done any real damage.

Bolstering the bullpen may be a good idea, though.

calcetinesblancos

I don’t honestly think it matters either way. If the Sox at some point made him a contract offer he liked, I think he’d take it in a heartbeat.

PauliePaulie

Sucks forCrochet.
Hope he comes back strong and this doesn’t derail the longer term plans of him being a starter.
Glad Lucas is official.

As Cirensica

So with Kimbrel and Crochett out of the picture, how is the White Sox pen shaping up?

STARTERS:

Gio
Lynn
Cease
Dallas
Rey/Vince/Kopech*

*They could be long relievers from the pen

BULLPEN FIXTURES:

Bummer
Liam
Kelly
Kendall
Burr
Ruiz

Total pitchers: 13 (I think this is the max a team can carry)

Am I missing someone?

a-t

The pitcher limit is 13 with a roster size of 26 and 14 with 28, which it will be for the first month. Burr and Ruiz’ spots are up in the air in general based on quality. I think Bennett Sousa is quite likely to break camp with the major league team with Crochet hurt, since 1) he’s a lefty reliever 2) he struck out a ton of guys with reasonable walk rates for a reliever last year in AA & AAA, and 3) has been impressive in ST with 0R, 1H, 0BB, and 7K in 4 innings.

As Cirensica

Definitely, another lefty is indeed a good idea. Good for Bennet that a golden opportunity opens up for him.