White Sox Notes: Robert, Grandal, Bummer, Bullpen

The White Sox placed center fielder Luis Robert on the 10-day injured list due to blurred vision before tonight’s contest with the Guardians. The placement is backdated to July 19, meaning he’ll first be eligible to return a week from now. He’s been dealing with lightheadedness for the past week, and the team will give him a bit more time to work through the issue.

It doesn’t seem to be a huge concern, as general manager Rick Hahn told reporters (including Vinnie Duber of CHGO Sports) the team was hopeful he could return after a week. Even if he’s back when first eligible, Chicago will have to go a couple pivotal series without arguably their top position player. Robert is hitting .301/.334/.461 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases across 323 plate appearances.

In a corresponding move, the Sox reinstated backstop Yasmani Grandal from the IL. Lower back spasms cost the switch-hitting catcher around five weeks. Now that he’s back to health, Grandal will try to get on track after struggling through arguably his worst couple months as a major leaguer. He carries just a .185/.294/.237 line through 201 plate appearances, a shocking downturn for a player who hit .240/.420/.520 last season.

In other injury news, reliever Aaron Bummer told reporters this afternoon he remains about three weeks from getting back onto a mound (via James Fegan of the Athletic). Bummer, who has been out since the second week of June due to a lat strain, is hoping to return to the major league club at some point in early September. That makes it a virtual lock he’ll be transferred to the 60-day injured list whenever Chicago needs a 40-man roster spot, and his still faraway return timeline will play a role in the team’s deadline approach.

Hahn told reporters that, in light of Bummer’s injury, relief pitching is “probably the most obvious need” for his club (via Jesse Rogers of ESPN). The Sox have invested heavily in the bullpen in recent seasons, signing Liam HendriksKendall Graveman and Joe Kelly to multi-year free agent deals (in addition to a lengthy contract extension for Bummer). They’ve nevertheless been a middle-of-the-pack group this year, checking in 17th in ERA (3.90) and 13th in strikeout/walk rate differential (14.9 percentage points). That’s partially due to injury, as Bummer, Hendriks and Kelly have all spent time on the injured list.

Chicago has gotten strong work from both Hendriks and Graveman, as well as former starter Reynaldo López. Along with Kelly, that’s a formidable group of right-handers, but the Sox are down to Tanner Banks as their top southpaw with Bummer on the shelf. Banks has a respectable 3.05 ERA through 38 1/3 innings, but he’s only generating swinging strikes at an 8.4% clip and has a subpar 20.9% strikeout rate.

A southpaw feels like a logical target for Hahn and his staff over the next week and a half. The division-rival Tigers could market Andrew Chafin, who’s likely to decline his player option and hit free agency at the end of the season. Detroit also has hard-throwing Gregory Soto, but he’s controllable through 2025, so the Tigers probably aren’t keen on dealing him to a division rival. Other left-handed relief trade candidates include Joe Mantiply (D-Backs), Steven Okert and Richard Bleier (Marlins) and Matt Moore (Rangers). The Angels Aaron Loup could also draw some interest, although he’s playing on a $7.5MM salary in both this season and next, as well as having a $2MM buyout on a 2024 club option. That could make him a tough fit for a Chicago team running a franchise-record payroll even if the Halos were willing to move him.

Published at Sat, 23 Jul 2022 02:30:23 +0000

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