The White Sox on Monday signed veteran right-handed pitcher Tommy Hanson to a minor league deal. The 27-year-old is expected to report to Triple-A Charlotte after a stint at extended spring training in Arizona.
Earlier this spring, Hanson was released by the Texas Rangers after posting a 6.43 ERA over 14 innings in the Cactus League.
who was once a prized prospect in the Atlanta organization, finished
third in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting in 2009, when
he went 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA in 21 starts for the Braves. Unfortunately for him, that
was his finest hour. He has seen a gradual decline in every year since, and has been plagued by shoulder problems since the 2011 season.
He spent last year with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, finishing 4-3 with a 5.42 ERA in 15 games (13 starts).
always amazes me how some people become outraged about minor signings such as
this one. You look around the Internet, and you can find Sox fans
complaining about this move, making comments such as, "This organization
is such a wreck. Why would they sign a bum like this?"
tell you why: There's no risk, and it costs next to nothing. If Hanson
continues to struggle, he will be released. If he gets his act together,
perhaps he can give the Sox some decent innings while they go through a
a team is rebuilding like the Sox are, it's inevitable that there are
some gaping holes in the roster. If there weren't gaping holes, well,
then a rebuilding process wouldn't be necessary, would it?
Sox organization is trying to fill those holes with talented young players as
quickly as possible, but high-end talent is hard to acquire and it doesn't happen overnight. In the
meantime, you need some veteran guys to fill in the gaps until you can
either trade for or develop somebody better.
manager Rick Hahn knows there isn't a lot of pitching depth in the
Sox' minor leagues, so he has added several low-cost, no-risk arms in free
agency or off the waiver wire. Felipe Paulino and Maikel Cleto are two
such pickups currently pitching in the big leagues. Hanson will
eventually join Mitchell Boggs, Eric Surkamp and Javy Guerra in
Charlotte. Don't be surprised if we see one or more of those four in
Chicago sometime this summer.
guys like Paulino, Cleto, Hanson, Boggs, Surkamp and Guerra are not
going to lead the White Sox to October glory -- not this year or any other
year. But as fans, we need to understand that's not what they are here
to do. If you sign five or six reclamation projects, chances are two or
three will end up giving you some halfway decent innings and keep you
somewhat competitive at the big-league level while the team goes through
the sometimes painful rebuilding process.
these stopgap veterans will be replaced by younger players with
more upside, but until those guys are acquired, somebody has to
one is fool enough to believe a guy like Hanson is a long-term solution
for anything. Chances are he'll be a faint memory the next time the Sox
field a contending team. But, if he comes up and starts the second end
of a doubleheader, or even if he gives the team 30 innings out of the bullpen
later in the year, then this signing is worthwhile.
It's all part of a process. It's all a means to an end.