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White Sox to sign Zach Duke

The White Sox make their first major move of the off-season.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

As the hot stove heats up, the White Sox seem to be ready to make their first move of the offseason.

Details of the deal haven't come out yet, but we'll update here when they do.

(UPDATE (12:32 p.m.): The White Sox announced the signing as a three-year, $15 million deal. He'll make $4.5 million in 2015, $5 million in 2016, and $5.5 million in 2017.)

Duke, 31, who started his career as a starter for the Pirates, struggled to stay in the majors until last season with the Brewers.  Last year, he really broke out by lowering his arm slot and finding a LOOGY-type job, throwing 58⅔ inning over 73 games with a 2.45 ERA, 2.14 FIP, and 2.09 xFIP

The big change -- he turned into a ground-ball pitcher.  Last season, he increased his ground ball rate to 57.7%. He also greatly improved his strikeouts per nine innings in the LOOGY role, putting up an impressive 11.35 K/9 rate, a massive increase over his career rate (5.02) to that point.

While he still occasionally uses his whole arsenal, he's primarily a sinker and curveball pitcher, mixing in a slider as well. His sinker comes in at about 90 mph these days. He has a cutter as well, so he'll fit in well in the Sox bullpen.

With this move, the Sox roster will be at 38. The deadline for adding players to the 40-man roster for them to be exempt from the Rule 5 draft is Thursday.