The White Sox made another small move today by adding pitcher Andrew Brackman on a minor league deal. Brackman was always a high profile prospect, as he was a 1st-round draft pick for the Yankees back in 2007, and signed for a gigantic bonus of $3,350,000 at the time, $4.5 million in guaranteed money, and the potential to hit $13 million in total. Brackman always drew a lot of attention for more than receiving a lot of money for the Yankees – he’s 6’10”, a two-sport athlete (playing basketball for North Carolina State), threw really hard (touching 99), etc. He also threw a couple of curveballs that scouts were really excited about, and was projected to be a Top 10 pick that slid to the Yankees at 30 due to signability issues.
Then Brackman missed the 2008 season with Tommy John Surgery and an appendectomy – but even so was considered the Yankees’ #3 prospect by Baseball America. Then his control was a mess, because his mechanics were a mess. Then it was clear he was a reliever and not a starter. Then his walk rates spiked even further, getting up into the 7 or 8 per 9 innings range. Last year, Brackman was back at High A ball, and still walking more than 5 batters per 9.
At this point Brackman is broken, and – as with 99% of minor league deals – none of us should really care about his addition. The only time minor league deals are upsetting is if there’s some sort of off-the-field thing that makes a player unsavory, or if they have a real shot at a major league roster spot. For example, if the White Sox signed Juan Pierre to a minor league deal, I would be very troubled. This move, however, is more of a, “Well, we need someone to throw some innings in the minors, and maybe we catch lightning in a bottle and he can still salvage some productive relief years” than anything else.