While the signings of Zach Duke and Adam LaRoche have grabbed everyone's attention, Rick Hahn has been quietly restocking the upper levels of the White Sox minor league system. So far, the Sox have signed shortstop Juan Diaz, RHP Logan Kensing, LHP Joe Savery, and OF Tony Campana.
Overall, the White Sox usually do one bulk announcement of the minor league signings when they announce the spring training invites in early January. We usually hear about most of them, but a few surprises get through. There have also been a few that never make it to January by opting out of their contract and signing with a foreign team instead. With that, let's start with the introductions.
Diaz was first signed by the Mariners in 2006 and played five games in the majors in 2012 for the Indians. He's been almost exclusively a shortstop, having played 924 of 950 games as a fielder at short. The White Sox are his fourth organization. While his career line of .259/.314/.371 isn't going to wow anyone, he serves an important purpose in the organization -- not giving the Sox a reason to promote Tim Anderson to Triple-A earlier than he needs to be.
Kensing was a second round pick by the Marlins in 2003. He'll turn 33 next July. He made it to first in 2004 and moved between the majors and the minors until 2009 when an ERA near 9.00 ended that. Since then, other than one game for the Rockies in 2013, he's stuck to the minors. He's probably unlikely to see the South Side, but he'll probably get a spring training invite and be a veteran for Charlotte's bullpen.
Joe Savery is the third lefty to be added by the Sox this offseason, and has pitched in the majors the past four seasons -- three seasons with the Phillies and last season with Oakland. He first got to the majors for the Phillies in 2011. The weird part of that is that he started out the 2011 season as a batter. He was drafted by the Phillies in the first round in 2007 as a pitcher and worked his way to Triple-A After a 1-12 season for Lehigh Valley in 2010, the Phillies made him a batter and started 2007 at their high-A team, where he hit .307/.368/.410. After a promotion to Double-A, his batting average dropped to .200, and the Phillies moved him to the bullpen by the end of June. He made it to the majors by the end of September. Savery has a low-90s fours-eamer and a slider with signs of a changeup. Unlike most four-seam fastballs, Savery's has some sinking action to it which he uses to generate ground balls.
Finally, the Sox have added former Cubs outfielder Tony Campana. Campana was the Cubs 13th-round pick in 2008, and made it to the majors in 2011. Last season, he played for both the Diamondbacks and Angels in the majors. He can play all three outfield positions, but has only hit .249/.296/.288 in the majors. The one thing he has going for him is speed. In his two seasons with the Cubs, he was 54-for-59 in stolen bases and is 66-for-75 overall. His one MLB home run was inside-the-park homer, too. While this means Rick Hahn is still looking for a left fielder, Campana could be in the mix for the fourth outfielder / pinch runner job at some point next season.
Of all the signees, Savery has the most realistic chance to make it to Chicago at some point in 2015. It's probably a stretch for him to make the team out of spring training, but he's got a decent chance of showing up at some point in the season. Campana probably has the second-best chance, but is still behind Jordan Danks, Leury Garcia, and a few others for a final bench spot at this point.