The Chicago White Sox signed left-handed pitcher, Joseph Savery, to a minor league contract on Saturday. Chris Cotillo tweeted news of the signing, in addition to others. Savery, who turned 29 in November, pitched 44.1 innings for Triple-A Sacramento in 2014, posting a 2.84 ERA with 45 strikeouts.
The acquisition of minor league pitching depth is not the headline-grabbing move that will have Sox fans dreaming of a World Series trophy. It’s also completely overshadowed by the recent signings of Zach Duke and Adam LaRoche, and justifiably so. Duke and LaRoche figure to help the White Sox at the major league level from day one, whereas, Savery will likely spend a significant amount of time in Triple-A Charlotte.
However, depth at any position cannot be overlooked, as the White Sox are well aware. Injuries to Matt Lindstrom and Nate Jones threw Chicago’s bullpen into disarray in 2014. The organization was not prepared to deal with the loss of two late game options in their ‘pen. As a result, inexperienced players like Eric Surkamp were thrown into the mix, and experienced players like Ronald Belisario were forced into high-leverage situations, leading to undesirable results.
A Calling To The Pen
Joe Savery was a first round draft choice out of Rice University by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007. According to BrooksBaseball.net, he has a three pitch repertoire consisting of a low 90’s fastball, slider, and changeup. He didn’t have a lot of success as a starting pitcher, posting a 4.32 ERA his first few years in the minors. Since moving to the bullpen in 2011, however, he has posted a 3.09 cumulative ERA at the Triple-A level. In 52.1 innings at the major league level he owns a 3.83 career ERA. The highlight below, from Savery’s time in Philly, showcases some of his ability.
It’s unclear at the moment what the White Sox expectations are for Savery, but it’s likely he will give the club an additional option to be recalled should the injury bug bite the team once again in 2015. Savery could serve, interestingly enough, as a right-handed specialist. Even though he’s a southpaw himself, his major league batting average against (BAA) versus right-handers is .205. His BAA versus fellow left-handed batters is considerably higher at .294. Allowing Savery to work with the coaching staff in Charlotte will most likely be the first course of action following spring training.
The White Sox front office made a couple shrewd acquisitions this last week to shore up their minor league depth in the bullpen by signing Savery and Onelki Garcia. There will be plenty of competition in Charlotte once the season opens next spring, and the White Sox pitching staff will eventually be better for it.
*All advanced stats provided by baseball-reference.com, unless otherwise noted.