The White Sox have requested waivers on second baseman Brett Lawrie for the purposes of granting his unconditional release. Lawrie’s last game with the Sox, it seems, was July 21st of the 2016 season. Numerous leg injuries Lawrie attributed to wearing orthotics for the first time in his career sidelined him for the vast majority of the second half.
Releasing Lawrie, however, was a philosophical decision by the organization not cutting bait on an injured player.
“As we talked about throughout this offseason, part of this process of building something sustainable for the future involves making some difficult decisions and today was a difficult decision,” GM Rick Hahn said. “Brett is a talented player who, no doubt in any of our minds, will help a club this season. At the same time we are committed to giving an opportunity to several of our young players–players who are going to be here for an extended period of time and we want to find out about.”
Lawrie (who slashed .248/.310/.413 with 12 HRs and 36 RBI) started 2016 on a tear and was part of the reason the Sox were able to get off to such a hot start while Abreu and other struggled at the plate. He was acquired December 9th, 2015 when the Sox sent JB Wendleken and Zack Erwin to the A’s.
After resigning Lawrie for the 2017 season for $3.5 million dollars, it was widely thought that Lawrie, if he got off to a hot start like last year, could be trade bait as the White Sox continued their rebuild. Health would be a big factor, however, as up until his release, Lawrie had not been able to get into a game. He’d been recovering, still, from nagging injuries related to orthotics and told reporters late last week that he was “close” to being comfortable enough to get into games.
With Lawrie’s release, Tyler Saladino and Yolmer Sanchez figure to be the replacements at the keystone at least until top prospect Yoan Moncada is ready for the Big Leagues. The White Sox currently have 38 players on the 40-man roster with 59 players in camp. First baseman Jose Abreu returned from his testimony in a Miami court and is in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Padres. The White Sox will be on the hook for just under $600,000 of Lawrie’s $3.5 million dollar deal. The major league minimum salary is $535,000 for 2017.