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White Sox ink pitchers Jhan Marinez, Felix Paulino to minor league deals

by Joe Binder

Prior to yesterday’s signings of pitcher Joe Kelly and infielder Josh Harrison, the White Sox continued adding depth at the minor league level earlier in the week.

As confirmed by MiLB.com’s transaction page, the organization has agreed to deals with right-handed pitchers Jhan Marinez and Felix Paulino. Outfielder Cornelius Randolph was also added to the organization on a non-roster agreement.

Marinez, 33, looks to rebound and make his first major league appearance since his eight-inning stint with the Orioles in 2018. Though originally coming to the White Sox as part of the Ozzie Guillen trade in September 2011, Marinez only appeared in two outings on the South Side before eventually being outrighted off the roster after struggles with Triple-A Charlotte in 2013.

Over the past two seasons, the Dominican Republic native has only participated in winter ball and will now try to work his way back into becoming a major league depth piece. Despite having a decent-enough 3.56 ERA, the reliever’s career strikeout (17.1%) and walk (10.2%) percentages don’t really move the needle. Since his signing, the White Sox have assigned him to Double-A Birmingham where he’ll make his return to the affiliated ranks.

Paulino, 26, comes back to the organization for his fourth season. Originally coming over in the Luis Avilan trade in 2018, the righty has spent the majority of his time with Double-A Birmingham aside from a brief five-start-stint in Charlotte that he’d surely like to forget. In 2021, Paulino went a combined 3-3 with a 7.44 ERA (35 ER/42.1 IP), 1.465 WHIP, and 2.37 strikeout to walk ratio between the two levels.

Like Marinez, Paulino has also been assigned to Double-A Birmingham since his signing. The starter-turned-reliever will embark on a similar journey, trying to string together quality outings before getting a promotion to Triple-A Charlotte, where he could serve as a major league depth piece, best-case scenario.

As for Randolph, 24, the former 10th overall pick in the 2015 draft will look to continue his minor league journey at Triple-A Charlotte. Though never appearing in the majors, the lefty hitter will see if he can earn his first crack at the big league level by way of a backup outfielder. The primary concern that exists for Randolph is his increasing strikeout rate, which sat at 30.5% in Triple-A last season.

With the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, Randolph slashed .234/.323.386 (34-for-145) with five home runs, 20 RBI, and .709 OPS in 2021. Unfortunately for the Georgia native, he’s always seemed to struggle offensively and is the owner of a career .254/.342/.377 line in the minors. This isn’t particularly ideal for a player looking to make up for some of his defensive concerns, but the White Sox will give him a shot to prove himself.

On top of these signings, the other following minor league transactions were also announced:

  • Released RHP Cam Hill
  • Released LHP Ryan Williamson
  • LHP Dan Metzdorf voluntarily retired
  • OF AJ Gill voluntarily retired

As we learn of more updates, we’ll continue to provide updates here and on social media @SoxOn35th!

Featured Photo: Orioles/Twitter

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