Tag Archives: David Robertson

White Sox Send Jennings to Rays, Call Up Bummer

Another day, another trade on the South Side.

As part of the White Sox’s effort to continue their swift rebuild plans, the club moved yet another piece on Thursday morning in reliever Dan Jennings. He was sent to the Tampa Bay Rays for OF Casey Gillaspie, brother of former White Sox third baseman, Conor. Gillaspie is a switch-hitting first baseman who was the Tampa Bay Rays No. 10 prospect according to MLB.com. He has hit .227 with 15 doubles, nine home runs and 44 RBIs in Triple-A Durham this season.

Gillaspie is on the DL after breaking his big toe on Tuesday and will be placed on the DL by Charlotte. The injury should only sideline Gillespie one or two weeks.

With this move, Jennings became the fourth reliever traded by the White Sox in just eight days.

“You know that term ‘sellers’ is thrown around a lot,” Jennings said before Wednesday’s game. “And you never want to think of it that way, because whoever is here whoever that may be, is going to do everything in their power to win every game despite the situation.”

Jennings certainly had some noticeable trepidation in his voice as he spoke to the media less than 24 hours prior to the trade and for good reason. He was next in the line of falling dominos of this aggressive rebuild process.

Jake Petricka, the only reliever left who was on the White Sox Opening Day roster, spoke on the situation.

“Up here, no,“ Petricka said when asked if he’d ever seen such quick bullpen turnaround. “In the minors, yes. I mean there goes those phases when the new draftees come in and faces turnover but, it’s a little different up here. But again it’s a good thing and a bad thing.”

Unlike Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle, and David Robertson, Jennings was not afforded final words with his teammates before he departed to his new team. “No, that was through text message,” Petricka said of his goodbyes to Jennings. “It’s one of those things, like I said, you wait for that call and then you get it and you’re gone. Unless you’re in the locker room like Todd and Tommy and D-Rob were, we don’t really get a chance to say goodbye to them, which makes it kind of hard but it’s the nature of the business.”

Jennings pitched 44.1 innings this season with the White Sox to the tune of a 2.45 ERA and struggled with the long ball this season; he gave up six home runs and held a 24 percent HR/FB rate. Guaranteed Rate Field being a friendly hitters ballpark likely contributed to the Jennings’ struggle with fly balls leaving the yard.

Despite the somber atmosphere surrounding the clubhouse after losing two games in a row to the Cubs, as well as a handful of teammates, the mood was anything but somber for new reliever Aaron Bummer. Bummer was called up to the majors from Charlotte for the first time in his career to take Jennings’ place in the bullpen.

“I was getting food last night in Charlotte and Steve McCatty came over and grabbed me, took me out of the food line into our manager’s office,” Bummer said of when he was informed of the call up. “He told me what was happening, and I just sat there with a dumbfounded smile on my face, not really knowing what to expect, just spitting out gibberish. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. I thank the White Sox and everybody for this opportunity.”

Bummer, wide eyed and bushy-tailed, stated how exciting this moment was for him and his family.

“My parents were sleeping and woke up right away and they bought a plane ticket for tonight,” Bummer said. “The next person I called was my girlfriend and she started bawling immediately. So it was a whole bundle of emotions for all of us. It was an awesome experience.”

Bummer, who has put together a 2.84 ERA between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, said that Jennings was a mentor for him during the time that they spent together in Spring Training.

“One of the guys who helped me out a lot was Dan Jennings,” Bummer said before Thursday’s game. “It’s kind of bittersweet to know it was a give and take. He kind of took me under his wing a little bit and learned the routine. He was a real big help for me and it’s one of those things I take a lot of pride in that routine.”

Making your Major League debut despite the state of the club you’re coming to is still an experience, and it isn’t short of a small case of the nerves for Bummer. “The sooner we get to this debut, I’ll be a little bit more at ease and things will be a little bit easier.” Bummer said.

While the White Sox rebuild is beginning to hit it’s stride as the trade deadline approaches, today was anything but a “bummer” for the White Sox new young reliever.

Garcia Hits the DL, Sox Send Swarzak to Milwaukee

After a scorching start that gave many South Siders hope for his future, White Sox All-Star right fielder Avisail Garcia will hit the DL with a ligament strain in his right thumb. Garcia said the issue has been bothering him for about a week now and, as he continued to play through it, he realized it was an issue that needed to be addressed.

“It’s been like this one week and getting worse, worse, worse,” Garcia said before Wednesday’s Crosstown Classic took the stage at Guaranteed Rate Field. “So, that’s why I decided to stop because my swing is not the same and I don’t want to keep playing like this.”

White Sox GM Rick Hahn made the announcement prior to Wednesday’s game, and said that it should sideline Garcia for “a couple of weeks.” The injury doesn’t look to require surgery at this time.

“At this point there’s no indication whatsoever that he needs a procedure,” Hahn said. “It’s just a matter of letting the thumb heal and getting him back out there.”

Garcia pointed out his recent struggles and attributed them to the lingering injury. “You could see yesterday, 0-for-5,” Garcia said about Tuesday’s matchup at Wrigley Field.

“I’ve been swinging too much with my shoulders. Trying to force it. I don’t have to force it,” Garcia said. “If something’s wrong I have to stop because I want to help my team. I don’t want this to happen. But it happened. That’s baseball. Anything can happen so I’ve just got to take care of this and be back and ready.”

Garcia is coming off the first All-Star selection of his career and a strong campaign in which he was hitting .303/.347/.485 with a career-tying 13 home runs. He was also was sporting the highest wRC+ of his career at 121.

The White Sox will be making a corresponding roster move with Garcia headed for the DL which will be announced either Wednesday evening or Thursday.

The familiar faces in the South Side clubhouse continue to dwindle as the trade deadline nears with the most recent departure coming on Tuesday evening. The White Sox sent reliever Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for outfield prospect Ryan Cordell.

“We feel we picked up another interesting prospect in Ryan,” Hahn said of the acquisition. “Scouts are very enthusiastic about his ability, his diverse skill set. He’s got some power, some speed, some versatility on the field, can play all three outfield positions. He does have some history of playing some third base as recently as this year. And he’s going to provide us with an intriguing player here in the coming months,” he continued.

Cordell is currently on the disabled list with a back strain that will likely keep him from seeing action right away.

“We’re going to have him examined by our doctors in Chicago, but we feel like this is probably going to take another few weeks to resolve,” Hahn said. “And there’s a chance that we don’t see him in action till closer to instructional league. But in terms of long-term prognosis, this injury should be a non-factor in his development, and we look forward to having him in action.”

Swarzak, who had a spectacular final outing as a member of the White Sox at Wrigley Field on Monday in which he struck out two batters and walked one, was one of the final remaining pieces in the White Sox bullpen which now only has two members that were present on the Opening Day roster.

“Yeah, it’s a little sad, when you see friends and teammates go,” reliever Dan Jennings said of the recent bullpen depletion. “You don’t want to sit here and say it’s the end of the road because we still have a lot of games to play and we’re still going to do our best to win every game.”

Swarzak certainly was deemed a valuable asset this season for a team looking for a closer such as the Brewers. In 48 innings of work this season, Swarzak put up a 2.23 ERA with a nearly-matching 2.34 FIP. He was striking out 9.68 batters per nine, walking just 2.41, and had allowed just two home runs.

A familiar face returned to the clubhouse Wednesday as reliever Jake Petricka was activated from the disabled list to help shore up the White Sox bullpen. Petricka has been on the DL since June 29 with a right elbow strain.

“It has been a mental grind especially with the hip injury last year,” Petricka said of his string of injuries. “So, if anything, I’ve just learned a lot more about myself off the field then on the field. And now it’s time to re-establish myself on the field.”

Petricka was not scored on over five outings during his rehab assignment at Triple A Charlotte. “It felt really good. A lot better command and just everything was very good,” Petricka said of his rehab assignment.

Manager Rick Renteria noted that he will be using Petricka in later innings to help fill the gap left by the departure of Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson and now Swarzak.

“Obviously, Petricka has been used in the past in many different roles from kind of a fireman role to a setup to closer,” Renteria said. “So we’re just going to kinda slot these guys where we think we can use them. Obviously everybody is available to us in different situations, we have an opportunity right now to show what they’re capable of doing.”

White Sox Send Frazier, Robertson, Kahnle to Yankees; Call up Moncada

Out with the old, in with the new.

That’s certainly the phrase for the White Sox on Tuesday as they turned over their lineup, sending veterans Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and breakout reliever Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees in return for Tyler Clippard and three prospects while also announcing that Yoan Moncada will be called up to join the Major League club for Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The White Sox will deplete their bullpen by dealing away Robertson and Kahnle, but shore up the loss by adding Tyler Clippard in what will likely be the closing role. Clippard has struggled with the Yankees this season, with a walk rate of 4.71 per nine and a HR/FB percentage of 14.6. Clippard is currently striking out 10.40 batter per nine.

The return the White Sox received from the Bronx included outfielder Blake Rutherford, the No. 3 prospect in the Yankees system, left-hander Ian Clarkin and outfielder Tito Polo.

The centerpiece of this deal is certainly 20-year-old Blake Rutherford. “Blake is a guy who was very high on our draft boards,” Hahn said of Rutherford. “We debated him right up through our pick last year.” Rutherford is the No. 36 prospect overall according to MLB.com. “I don’t like putting comps on players but we do view him as having an extremely high ceiling and a guy who when we start looking around at Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada. He fits into that potential mold of a potential high-impact offensive player who potentially can also help you defensively,” Hahn said. Rutherford hit .281 while with the Yankees Class A Charleston team.

Ian Clarkin, 22, was ranked as the Yankees No. 19 prospect according to MLB.com and was in Class A Tampa where he had a 2.62 ERA over 75 IP with 58 strikeouts. He comes with a long injury history but has a good mix of pitches that include an above-average breaking ball and a fringe-average changeup that could be interesting in use as a long reliever if Clarkin doesn’t make the starting rotation in the future. The White Sox have a long track record of keeping their pitching healthy, so perhaps the injuries are not a major concern for the organization.

Tito Polo, 22, was the mystery fourth piece in the deal. “Tito Polo is a center fielder who has gotten off to a torrid start in CF,” Hahn said. “He can run a little bit and swing.” Polo came to the Yankees in August of 2016 as the player to be named later in the Ivan Nova trade with Pittsburgh. Polo was a resident at both High-A Tampa and Double A Trenton in the Yankees system this season, where he hit nearly .300 between the two affiliates and had an OBP of .365 in Double A.

It was nothing short of an exciting day on the South Side with the Dodgers being in town and rolling out Clayton Kershaw, the addition of more prospects to bulk up their flourishing minor league system and, oh, let’s not forget about Moncada. He’ll be on the South Side on Wednesday.

Robertson has been nasty, but how long does he stay?

Though the White Sox are in the midst of rebuild and don’t look to be contenders this season, it’s been quite a busy start to the season and all eyes have been on the South Side.

Part of the reason is that the White Sox still possess players that are considered valuable trade assets and, though it feels as if the first pitch of the regular season was thrown just yesterday, it’s getting closer to the time for folks to start trade deadline rumors. Other major league teams are settling in, baseball is figuring out contenders that need a boost, and who is in the position to sell.

Though Jose Quintana has gotten off to a less-than-admirable start, no one is truly concerned about him. There is still plenty of time for him to pick it up before the trade deadline at the end of July, if in fact the White Sox are looking to deal him at all this summer.

But, as all eyes have been focused on Quintana, many have let the success David Robertson’s success pass by. Robertson has been absolutely spectacular this season, quickly giving his value on the trade market a boost.

Robertson, now 32 years-old and on his 10th season in the majors, has thrown 21.1 innings this season—on pace for his usual 60 plus innings—to the tune of a 3.38 ERA. Doesn’t sound all that fantastic but, of course, there is more than meets the eye. Robertson currently owns a 2.68 FIP and, for the moment, a career low 1.74 DRA. These statistics are more telling of a pitcher’s true performance; they are independent of what the defense behind him does and, therefore, a better measure of the individual player’s true talent level.

Robertson’s 12.39 K/9 is his best in a White Sox uniform and best since his final season with the Yankees in 2014. Though Robertson owned a 1.85 BB/9 during his first season on the South Side, looking at his BB/9 over the course of his career quickly shows you that his 2015 season was an outlier in terms of walks. Robertson is currently walking just 3.1 batters per nine, while the AL average is currently sitting at 3.43. Not bad for a 32 year-old closer on a relatively inexpensive contract.

One concern for Robertson is the drastic decrease he’s seen in his groundball rate. Robertson’s pitching repertoire hasn’t seen a drastic change and still consists of his signature Mariano Rivera-taught cutter, a curveball with exceptional breaking action, as well as a sinker, and a changeup. However, Robertson has seen his groundball percentage dip from 45 percent in 2016, to just 35 percent in 2017. The concern there is that Robertson has seen a significant uptick in his fly ball rate. Robertson’s fly ball rate is now 51 percent, up from 40 percent in 2016, and by far a career high. This hasn’t been an issue for Robertson, who has only allowed 2 home runs and has seen his HR/FB% drop by .6 percentage points to 9.1. However, depending on which teams are scouting him, this could be a red flag on the radar for the closer. However, Guaranteed Rate Field is known as a notoriously hitter friendly park — so if Robertson were to struggle with giving up fly balls for home runs anywhere, it would likely already be happening in Chicago.

Robertson is currently on the third year of a four-year deal that will pay him just $12 million in 2017 and $13 million in 2018. Considering how baseball saw the closer market skyrocket this offseason, and Robertson is considered to be in nearly the same talent pool as the three closers who received hefty deals, Robertson has dual trade value. What teams are willing to give up for a closer with the success Robertson is seeing as well as the contract that he comes with will be something the White Sox should leverage during this season’s trade deadline.

The White Sox Bullpen has been Nails

We’re closing in on a month of baseball. We can still say “It’s early,” but that window is closing. Trends are starting to solidify. Themes are starting to build. You get the point.

There is nothing so volatile in baseball as the bullpen so even making this observation is, perhaps, foolhardy but… The White Sox bullpen has been nails.

Let’s start from the back. David Roberston has thrown 7.2 innings, recorded five saves in five chances, struck out 13 of 29 batters faced and holds a WHIP of .783. He’s produced like the David Robertson of old. Or, at least, not the 2016 version. While Nate Jones seemed to take a few outings to round back into form, he’s achieved his requisite nastiness. If you take Jones’ first three outings (3.1 IP, 4 BB, 2 ER, .364 BA) and toss them by the wayside, his numbers look a lot like Robertson’s. Eight and a third innings, a 1.08 ERA, 14 strikeouts in 33 batters faced. Anthony Swarzak has been a revelation. Not only has he struck out over a third of the batters he’s faced (14 of 38), he’s walked exactly one hitter. He put up a stretch of 18 consecutive hitters retired. He’s given length to the ‘pen by pitching multiple innings in five of his eight outings. Considering the White Sox rotation has had some shorter (albeit decent enough) starts from Derek Holland and James Shields, getting length out the pen has been necessary. With Shields joining Carlos Rodon on the DL and Mike Pelfrey working to get back into shape and deeper in games, length is even more than that.

And let’s not leave out Tommy Kahnle. He’s striking out 18/9 IP. That’s bananas. Kahnle and I talked last Saturday on White Sox Weekly about the mechanical changes he’s made to his delivery. There are a few small tweaks that have helped him throw strikes at a far, far higher rate than ever before. Couple that with his velocity ticking up into the triple digits and you’ve got an arm that even the big national writers can’t ignore.

Seriously. Check it out. This is big-time, smart baseball stuff: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-white-sox-have-had-one-of-the-best-pitchers-on-the-planet/

The Sox bullpen isn’t even healthy. They lost Jake Petricka to a lat strain after just one outing and Zach Putnam is back on the DL with an elbow issue. There’s no telling when either will be back. Putnam was part of the Nails Brigade while he was healthy, however. His performance (8.2 IP, .346 WHIP) speaks for itself but his ability to pitch to right or left handed batters made the bullpen more versatile.

Like all “It’s early” observations, this one comes with the same caveat: They probably can’t all keep this up. These are staggering rates at an individual level. Having them all in the same bullpen? Even more so. Baseball will turn even the most heart-warming story into a mid-June fizzle but, for now, the White Sox bullpen has been nails.

89 Seconds with 890: David Robertson

On this edition of 89 Seconds with 890 powered by Xfinity, White Sox reporter Rachel Brady asks pitcher David Robertson some rapid fire questions on his 32nd Birthday. Find out here who David was starstuck by! (HINT: his name is on the box of food you ordered at 12AM last night)

Plenty of PT for White Sox Prospects

White Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada makes his second start of the spring today against the Mariners. From the start of camp Manager Ricky Renteria has put Moncada and the rest of the high-end prospects in the White Sox newly loaded farm system front and center.

Moncada has five plate appearances, despite just the one start, catcher Zach Collins has five as well–with no starts yet. Adam Engel (who won the Arizona Fall League MVP in 2015 and someone White Sox fans should keep an eye out for) has had five trips to the plate as well. Engel also made one of the better plays in the outfield for the Sox so far this spring. Michael Kopech will start today’s game against the Mariners. Reynaldo Lopez gets the start in the other game (the Sox are using split squads today). Lucas Giolito made his debut against the World Series Champion Cubs on Monday. Zach Burdi was called on in the 9th inning of Sunday’s game to nail down the Sox first win.

There’s a lot of young talent and they’re getting run early.

While the playing time is plentiful for the youngins early on, it may not portend breaking camp with the team–or even an early call-up. The World Baseball Classic is making spring extra-long this year. The Sox also have a few injuries to projected regulars (Todd Frazier, Brett Lawrie and Charlie Tilson) which gives more opportunities. Further, forty percent of the White Sox rotation will work in the WBC–Jose Quintana will pitch for Columbia, Miguel Gonzalez for Mexico–while Nate Jones and David Robertson will both pitch for Team USA. Those pitchers are on a different schedule, altogether. Finally, Carlos Rodon has been backed up in an effort to keep him strong through the season.

Still, “Get ‘Em In Early” works pretty well as a motto for a team hungry to see what all the new (and existing) young talent is able to do. Perhaps the toughest task facing the kids, however, could be keeping things in stride. Knowing that their time in Big League Camp could be limited, it’s got to be tough to no try and hit three home runs in one swing or throw a fastball through the catcher. So far, the kids have impressed and that’ perhaps the most important part of the White Sox spring.