The White Sox have signed right-hander Jose Urena to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Charlotte, according to his MLB.com profile page. He was previously in the Nationals organization after inking a minors deal in May but was released on August 3rd.
Urena, 31, hasn’t had much success at either the major or minor league levels in 2023. All five of his major league appearances came with the Rockies to begin the year, where he posted a 9.82 ERA along with a .346 opponent average and nine homers allowed over 18.1 innings thrown. Following his eventual release, Urena got a fresh start with Washington but only continued to struggle with the club’s Triple-A affiliate. While there, he posted a 6.31 ERA with a 1.58 WHIP, 2.15 K/BB, and 16 more home runs allowed.
Urena has always been known for inducing more groundballs than strikeouts over the course of his 15-year career, but his ongoing longball problem is a reason for legitimate concern. He previously had just a 1.0 HR/9 over his 15 professional seasons (both major and minor league levels), but that has skyrocketed to an alarmingly high 2.1 during his Triple-A stint.
The White Sox aren’t particularly deep on starting pitching depth at the moment, so all signs point to Urena eating up some innings in Charlotte for the remainder of the year. With trade deadline deals sending a number of pitchers both in the rotation and bullpen packing, the Sox have been looking to Charlotte to bridge the gaps.
From a contract perspective, Colorado still owes Urena the balance of his 2023 salary, which is approximately $950,000 left of a guaranteed $3.0 million, and there is a $500,000 buyout of his 2024 club option. The Nationals ended up not having to pay Urena even a prorated MLB minimum salary, as he never made Washington’s major league roster. The White Sox could be in a similar situation come season’s end.
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