Teams aren't supposed to break major news on the same day as World Series games. The White Sox tried sneaking a waiver claim past everybody, but MLB Trade Rumors caught it, and now the Fall Classic is ruined.
The White Sox have claimed right-hander Jacob Turner off waivers from the Cubs, according to the club’s transactions page at MLB.com. Turner, 24, didn’t pitch in the Majors this season, spending most of the year on the 60-day disabled list due to a strained right flexor tendon and right shoulder inflammation.
Turner, who was considered a top-30 prospect for a few years running, received steady MLB work after the Tigers traded him to Miami as the centerpiece in the trade package that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit. He posted a 3.74 ERA over 118 innings in 2013, which is pretty good for a 22-year-old, even with unconvincing peripherals.
Then the wheels came off the following year -- a 5.98 ERA and a .328/.371/.480. The Marlins then painted themselves into a corner by designating the out-of-options Turner for assignment, rather than relegating him to the bullpen for a few weeks until rosters expanded. They ended up settling for minor-league filler in a trade with the Cubs in August of 2014.
With Jake Arrieta's resurgence still fresh, the trade for a former top prospect in Turner was an attempt forming a template:
I mean, Jacob Turner is pretty much the picture-perfect definition of a Cubs Pitching Reclamation/xFIP Regression Special.— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) August 5, 2014
But it wasn't that simple.* Turner pitched even worse for the Cubs for 34 innings over the remainder of 2014, then missed almost all of 2015 with the aforementioned injuries.
Turner is just still 24 years old, and he did hike his ground-ball rate up near 50 percent before he got hurt. It's banal to call this a "low-risk-high-reward" move. More precisely, it gives the Sox some needed depth behind the presumed starting rotation for the moment.
With Erik Johnson occupying a rotation spot with the big club for now, the Sox don't have much in the way of intriguing high-minors arms behind him. We've seen Scott Carroll's limitations, and Chris Beck missed the last few months of 2015 with his own injury, so Turner stands to stand tall among those peers.
Whether he'll get the chance is the question. First, he'll have to survive an offseason of 40-man roster churn (or an outrighting, which the Sox prevented the Cubs from doing here). After that, since he's out of options, the Sox will need to keep him on the 25-man roster or risk losing him through waivers should they want to get him to Charlotte.
(*As we know. A few years ago, this would've been a classic Coop-'ll-fix-him.)