Jake Petricka

White Sox decline to tender contracts to four players, including three relievers as bullpen makeover continues

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USA TODAY

White Sox decline to tender contracts to four players, including three relievers as bullpen makeover continues

The White Sox declined to tender contracts to four players Friday, including a trio of relief pitchers as the bullpen continues to undergo a lengthy remodel.

Relievers Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam and Al Alburquerque, along with infielder Alen Hanson, weren’t tendered 2018 contracts and figure to be out of the White Sox plans for the upcoming season.

Petricka was a mainstay in the bullpen for the past five seasons, making 129 appearances during his most prolific seasons in 2014 and 2015. He picked up 14 saves and posted a 2.96 ERA in the first of those two campaigns. But injuries became an issue, and he made just nine appearances in 2016 before pitching in 27 games last season. He was roughed up in that small sample size this past season for a 7.01 ERA in 25.2 innings of work.

Putnam spent the past four years on the South Side after logging 15 appearances in three seasons with the Indians, Rockies and Cubs. As a member of the White Sox, the former Michigan Wolverine threw 139.1 innings in those four seasons and posted a cumulative ERA of 2.71. But he, too, was bothered by injuries, pitching in just 25 games in 2016 and only seven last year.

Alburqueruqe signed a minor league deal with the White Sox in early August and was called up in September. He made 10 appearances and turned in a 1.13 ERA.

Hanson spent significant time with the team in 2017, playing in 69 games. He slashed .231/.276/.651 in 175 plate appearances, hitting four homers, driving in 10 runs and stealing nine bases.

In other roster news, the White Sox avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year deal with reliever Danny Farquhar. He posted a 4.40 ERA in 14.1 innings with the team last season.

The bullpen will obviously look a lot different than it did at the beginning of 2016. Friday’s decisions play a factor, of course, but much of the change is thanks to midseason trades, with Rick Hahn shipping David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak and Dan Jennings out of town in deals with the Yankees, Brewers and Rays.

The White Sox announced that all remaining unsigned players have been tendered contracts for the 2018 season and that the 40-man roster stands at 36.

Green White Sox bullpen loses most experienced arm as Jake Petricka placed on disabled list

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USA TODAY

Green White Sox bullpen loses most experienced arm as Jake Petricka placed on disabled list

Already short on experience, the White Sox could be without one of their most seasoned relievers the rest of the way.

The club placed Jake Petricka on the disabled list on Thursday with an elbow strain. The move is retroactive to Tuesday.

The DL trip is the third this season for Petricka, who is 1-1 with a 7.01 ERA in 25 2/3 innings. Petricka — whose MRI showed no structural damage — also was on the DL from April 5 to June 8 with a right lat strain and missed a month starting June 26 with a right elbow strain. He said he’s not worried after the MRI.

“It’s just another bump in the road we’ve got to take care of,” Petricka said. “We took pictures and it came back very minor. We’ve got a plan of attack and know it will work.

“The previous (injuries) were always instant. This one was more of a gradual. Decent workload going on throughout the previous couple of weeks and just kind of built up and one of the wear-down injuries, not the acute, one-pitch injury.”

The White Sox bullpen has been a revolving door all season long, but in particular the past month and a half. The club is without Nate Jones and Zach Putnam because of season-ending elbow injuries. Zack Burdi’s major league debut was derailed by a season-ending elbow injury.

And, the White Sox traded Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, Anthony Swarzak, Dan Jennings and Tyler Clippard.

Those healthy in the bullpen include six rookies — Juan Minaya, Gregory Infante, Chris Beck, Dylan Covey, Aaron Bummer and Jace Fry — and veterans Danny Farquhar and Mike Pelfrey, whose nine relief appearances this season are a career high.

With less than a month left in the season, it might be difficult for Petricka to return in time.

“I’m sure it has been really frustrating to get back healthy and go back out and feel a little something again,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We feel bad for him, but you really can’t control that. I think hopefully it’s nothing serious and he’s able to get back. I don’t know if it will be before the season is out. But back and healthy at some point and do what he always does.”

White Sox players grateful for quiet trade deadline: 'Kind of nice that it's over'

White Sox players grateful for quiet trade deadline: 'Kind of nice that it's over'

The trade deadline passed on Monday and all was quiet in the White Sox clubhouse.

While nearly every other team in baseball furiously attempted to make last-minute deals before the 3 p.m. (CST) nonwaiver trade deadline, the White Sox remained silent. Though there had been a few rumblings of possible moves the past few days, none surfaced involving White Sox players on Monday.

And for the first time since the All-Star break there was a relative sense of calm within the clubhouse. Monday’s tranquility was not the byproduct of a decision by the White Sox front office to stand pat but rather because of the flurry of trades Rick Hahn completed the previous 17 days. Those five deals removed involved seven members of the White Sox 25-man roster and has had players living with their heads on a swivel for almost a month. After one final trade sent Melky Cabrera’s trade to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, the remaining group was admittedly happy to see the deadline pass.

“It was tough,” third baseman Matt Davidson said. “Just everybody. You didn’t know what was going to happen any day. It was so random.

“It’s kind of nice that it’s over and for the most part this is going to be the clubhouse for the rest of the year.”

In all likelihood, this will be the White Sox roster the rest of the season.

There could be a few additions in the way of Triple-A players who are promoted. Rick Renteria reiterated on Monday that some of the club’s top pitching prospects are close to arriving in the majors. There also could be a few more subtractions if a contending club found one of the team’s veteran pitchers to their liking.

But the bulk of the White Sox roster has already been systematically ripped apart through a series of trades.

“It always happens so fast,” infielder Tyler Saladino said. “(Sunday) Melky was just walking through giving people hugs. Blink of an eye, something else happens. But you’re five minutes away from team stretch so you don’t really have time to think about it. You just say your goodbyes and your well-wishes and move forward.”

“You process it, but it’s not a lengthy process.

“Everything happens pretty fast around here.”

The upheaval of the 25-man roster began July 13 with a five-player deal that sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs. Five days later, the White Sox packaged Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson in a deal to the New York Yankees. Anthony Swarzak followed them on Wednesday when he was traded to Milwaukee. Dan Jennings was traded on Thursday to the Tampa Bay Rays and finally Cabrera was dealt to Kansas City on Sunday.

Now the White Sox are left with a roster full of inexperienced parts, including a bullpen that includes only one pitch from the Opening Day roster (Jake Petricka). The loss of so many key players will unquestionably lead to some trying times over the final two months of the regular season.

“It’s a good chance for those guys to get some experience,” Saladino said. “But it can be challenging because we’re very young at a level of game that requires a lot of experience.”

Once surrounded by a veteran crew, Petricka and newcomer Tyler Clippard are the only relievers with more than one year of service time. Petricka likened the massive turnover as something similar to when a series of moves is in made concurrently in the minor leagues. But, he also contends that the last two weeks has been different.

“I haven’t been a part of something like this,” Petricka said. “We’ve just got to prove it. It is a great opportunity for everyone. We’ve just got to go out and do our job and show we all belong and we all know we do.”