Well, well, after thoughtfully shipping Eloy Jiménez and Dylan Cease to the Chicago White Sox awhile back, now the Chicago Cubs have returned-to-sender minor league lefty Ian Clarkin.
The White Sox tried to sneak Ian through waivers to remove him from the 40-man roster six days ago, but the crafty Cubs grabbed him.
Not so fast, north siders.
Today, while the Minnesota Twins were claiming 30-homer hitter C.J. Cron from the Tampa Bay Rays, the White Sox snagged Clarkin back from the Cubs, claiming him off of waivers and putting him right back on the 40-man roster, where he began his circuitous journey less than a week ago.
The White Sox’s 40-man roster now stands at 39.
Clarkin came over to the White Sox from the New York Yankees, as part of the trade that brought Blake Rutherford to Chicago and sent Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson eastward. He had a strong 11 innings in Winston-Salem after the deal in 2017.
In 2018, it was a bit of a different story for Clarkin.
He had three scoreless outings in spring training, throwing 5 2⁄3 innings, finishing two games and earning a save. He was moved to minor league camp after a nice audition, and landed in the Birmingham Barons rotation to start the season. Clarkin made nine starts in Birmingham before succumbing to injury at the end of May, holding a 3-5 record and 6.29 ERA.
After missing all of June, Clarkin hit the Arizona Rookie League for a rehab tuneup, then advanced to Winston-Salem for a four-game tuneup. By August, Clarkin — now pitching out of the bullpen — was back in Birmingham, where he winnowed his ERA under 5.00, to 4.98, in nine outings to end the year.
Clarkin initially was added to the White Sox’s 40-man roster after the 2017 season. He was voted Chicago’s 14th-best prospect and the 18th Most Essential White Sox player by SSS this spring.
Two potential White Sox offseason chips were taken off the table today, both by the Braves.
Atlanta signed Fun Police Lieutenant/Catcher Brian McCann, who admittedly has no place on the Chicago roster without the jettisoning of Welington Castillo/adoption of New and Improved Ricky Hustle Rules for 2019.
A bigger potential hit — at least in the eyes of many offseason plans — was Atlanta inking third baseman Josh Donaldson, for one year and $23 million. Not to make too much of one early offseason move, but if the White Sox aren’t biting at such a small flyer on a potential All-Star (one year !?!?), it’s certainly further cause to believe 2019 is gonna get punted but good on the South Side. (Of course, Jiménez is slated to start the season in Charlotte, so, yeah, you already knew that was the plan.)
Not sure if this was a panic move on Donaldson’s part, but man, if I’m a marginal free agent this offseason, I just took a hard swallow. No one out there would go 2/40 or 3/54, even, with Donaldson? We could be looking at a long, long, lonely winter once more.