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White Sox ink Kevin Pillar and Juan Then to minor league deals

A right fielder?! A for-real, major league right fielder?

Kevin Pillar of the Atlanta Braves at bat during the postseason workouts at Truist Park on Oct. 3, 2023.
| Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/Getty Images

The Chicago White Sox made a flurry of moves late Friday afternoon, signing veteran outfielder Kevin Pillar and right-handed reliever Juan Then to minor league deals.

Pillar, 35, spent all of 2023 with the Atlanta Braves, batting a meager .228 with a .664 OPS in 81 games. The 11-year veteran looks to compete for the right field job with Gavin Sheets and Oscar Colás. Pillar will make a cool $3 million if he makes the the major league roster.

Then (pronounced like the number 10), a 2017 signing out of the Dominican Republic, has spent all but one season of his career in the Mariners organization. He split time between Double-A Arkansas and Triple-A Tacoma in 2023 before making his major league debut last May. In 11 innings for the Mariners last season, the soon-to-be 24-year-old sported a 4.91 ERA and a 1.455 WHIP. His 10.21 ERA at Tacoma in 2023 suggests that he’ll be another Brian Banister project, or perhaps merely another warm body to eat innings for Charlotte.

In more curious rumors, the Pale Hose are said to be one of five teams interested in 1B Dom Smith:

Smith, 29 in June, has had an up-and-down career, batting .248 with a .721 OPS over his seven big league seasons. His best season in New York came in 2019, when he batted .282 with an .881 OPS and 11 home runs in 89 games. Injury and inconsistency seems to have plagued the left-handed first baseman since the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Why the South Siders would be interested in a slightly less bad version of Sheets is beyond me. This org does love no-glove bats that also aren’t very good at hitting. Perhaps Chris Getz watched this clip and thought to himself, “I just have to have him”?

Visions of Nomar Mazara hitting that one home run against the White Sox in 2019.

Your guess is as good as mine.


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