This afternoon, the White Sox announced that they have acquired Franklin German from the Boston Red Sox in a reliever swap. In return, the White Sox are sending Theo Denlinger to Boston.
In order to make room for German on the 40-man roster, Jason Bilous was designated for assignment.
German, 25, is a former fourth-round draft pick of the Yankees back in 2018. After several years of ineffectiveness as a starting pitcher, the Red Sox converted him to a reliever last season to strong results. Across AA and AAA, German threw 49.2 innings, posting a 39.1% strikeout rate at AA and 30.5% strikeout rate in AAA. He had an overall 2.72 minor league ERA last season, and while he did get a cup of coffee in the majors, he struggled, giving up eight runs in four innings and really struggling with command. Though he was the team’s MiLB Pitcher of the Year in 2022, he was designated for assignment by the Red Sox earlier this week, which opened up the opportunity for the White Sox to trade for him.
German features a primarily two-pitch mix in his fastball and slider – and when you hear those two pitches, it makes sense why Ethan Katz would be interested in this type of pitcher. He features average spin rates on both pitches (2200 RPMs on his fastball; 2112 RPMs on his slider), and his fastball routinely got up to as high as 99 mph last season.
Denlinger, 26, was drafted in the seventh round by the White Sox back in 2021 but had yet to advance past AA. He routinely was posting astronomical strikeout rates, but in 48.1 innings last season in A+ and AA, struggled to a combined 4.47 ERA. Part of this was likely his walk rate once he reached AA, reaching as high as 10.8%.
With Denlinger heading into his age-26 season and still not ready for AAA, the White Sox likely saw an opportunity here to strike on a more major-league-ready arm with a similar build/player profile with a bullpen that is going to need some depth with the unclear timeline surrounding Liam Hendriks’ return. His fastball/slider combo mirrors pitchers that Ethan Katz has had success with: Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, Carlos Rodon, and Reynaldo Lopez, among others, come to mind. However, this move continues the strategy of building internal pitching depth before paying for it, which could pay dividends for the White Sox in the long run once some of their current reliever contracts expire.
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Great another pitcher with control issues.