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In a normal winter, the White Sox would have released their list of non-roster invitees a couple of weeks ago. In these uncertain times, the minor league veteran depth is coming in drips and drabs. A Tim Beckham here. A Nick Williams there. A clump of names from Baseball America’s minor league transactions, some of whom are merely returning organizational guys.
There hadn’t been a catcher in that group, somebody who might provide some veteran ballast behind Yasmani Grandal and three guys who might combine for one catcher between them.
That’s Jonathan Lucroy, who is only 34 years old, but feels like he’s 40 because he plummeted from “game’s best catcher” to “average at best” five years ago, and has been hanging on ever since. The White Sox will be his eighth organization over a five-year period.
Lucroy appeared in one game for the Red Sox last season, whom he joined on a minor-league contract after having offseason surgery to remove a herniated disk in his neck. He spent the bulk of the season at Boston’s alternate training site before being granted his release in September, after which he joined the Phillies.
He’d spent the previous year splitting time with the Angels and Cubs, and started for Oakland in 2018. Across those two seasons, he hit .237/.297/.338 over 782 plate appearances.
It’s hard to imagine Lucroy usurping Zack Collins and taking a spot on the 40-man at the start of the season, but he seems like somebody to have on hand should something happen to Grandal, just so somebody knows what they’re doing. God forbid something happens to Grandal.
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The White Sox unceremoniously dumped Luis Basabe after three inconsistent, injury-marred seasons in the organization, sending him to the Giants for cash in August. The move was a boon for Basabe, who made his MLB debut in September and went 2-for-14 with four walks and two stolen bases before his troublesome legs moved him to the injured list with a right hamstring strain.
Alas, Basabe might have to find another home for his next opportunity. The Giants designated him for assignment after making a trade with the Minnesota Twins, getting extra outfielder Lamonte Wade Jr. The Twins received Shaun Anderson, who shifted to relief last year and threw his slider more than half the time, and pairs it with a high-spin fastball. It’s a profile the Twins have had some success with, so be aware.
(Photo by forloveofbaseball / Flickr)