The White Sox are bringing back a familiar arm via free agency.
Right-handed reliever Kyle Crick has reportedly agreed to terms with the organization on a minor league deal, per Baseball America’s transaction tracker. The move has not yet been made official on MLB.com.
Crick, 29, was originally inked by the Sox on July 29, 2021 after his release from the Pittsburgh Pirates a few days prior. He was assigned to Triple-A Charlotte and did nothing but impress over the following month. In just eight games, he posted an 0.87 ERA (1 ER/10.1 IP) to go with 15 strikeouts, three walks, .121 opponent average, and 0.68 WHIP. Despite the strong showing, Crick triggered an opt-out clause in his minor league deal and was granted his release on September 1st. The decision was likely a result of not earning a major league promotion when rosters expanded from 26 to 28 men at the time.
Prior to his organizational stint, Crick owned a 4.44 ERA (14 ER/24.1 IP), with 21 strikeouts and 19 walks in 24.3 innings with the Bucs. While his velocity was up from the 2020 season at 92.6 mph, it was still dramatically lower than the 95-96 mph he touched from 2017-19. His career 3.51 ERA (67 ER/171.2 IP), 1.32 WHIP, and 1.86 K/BB ratio across five seasons isn’t particularly flashy, but would indeed be serviceable from a depth standpoint.
Heading into the upcoming season, Crick likely lands towards the top of the “most intriguing minor league names to monitor” list. The big question that remains is whether or not he can duplicate the last month of his 2021 season. Consistency was his kryptonite in Pittsburgh, as Pirates GM Ben Cherington pointed out at the time of his release.
“I think we just got to the point where we weren’t seeing enough consistency. … I think some of those leverage opportunities have started to go to other guys. Once he’s out of that role, he’s not a length or multi-inning guy.”via Jake Crouse/MLB.com
Perhaps our friends at Codify will continue to work their magic with Crick, as he shoved ever since the above tweet was posted. His 3550+ RPM sliders alone are enough to turn heads, as he ranked in the top 1% of major leaguers in horizontal break and 5% in late break. As things stand, the Sox could use an arm like that to cut into the bullpen’s workload and contribute at a high level. Now, we’ll just have to see if Crick can work his way to that point once we emerge from the lockout.
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Featured Photo: Pirates/Twitter