Ian Clarkin

Ian Clarkin rides the Red Line again as Cubs claim former White Sox prospect for second time this offseason

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AP

Ian Clarkin rides the Red Line again as Cubs claim former White Sox prospect for second time this offseason

Dear Ian,

The balance in your Ventra transit account for your card is low — be sure to load more value soon to keep riding.

Ian Clarkin just took another metaphorical trip on the Red Line.

The one-time (two-time?) White Sox pitching prospect was claimed on waivers by the Cubs for the second time this offseason, his fourth stint on a Chicago baseball roster since November.

Clarkin, acquired by the White Sox in the seven-player swap with the New York Yankees in the summer of 2017, was designated for assignment by the South Siders early this offseason. The Cubs claimed him, then tried to get him off their 40-man roster via the waiver process. No luck. The White Sox picked him back up. Then they DFA'd him again to make room on the 40-man roster for the recently signed Kelvin Herrera. And now the Cubs have claimed him. Again.

The Cubs' 40-man roster sits at 39. Will they once more try to get Clarkin to Triple-A Iowa through waivers? Maybe. But the White Sox 40-man roster is a bit more crowded than it was before, meaning Clarkin's days with the White Sox organization might finally be through.

Clarkin was once one of the White Sox highly ranked prospects, but a tough go of things at Double-A Birmingham moved him out of that category. He finished with 4.98 ERA in 68.2 innings with the Barons.

Clarkin, a few weeks away from his 24th birthday, was a first-round pick of the Yankees in 2013.

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Ian Clarkin was a Cub for six days and now he's on the White Sox again

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AP

Ian Clarkin was a Cub for six days and now he's on the White Sox again

Cast your mind back to a long-ago time when Ian Clarkin left the White Sox organization on a waiver claim, joining the Cubs.

Well after an arduous journey lasting all of six days, Clarkin is a White Sock once more.

From White Sox to Cubs to White Sox, just like that.

Clarkin was originally brought to the White Sox organization in the seven-player trade with the New York Yankees in the summer of 2017. The South Siders got highly ranked outfield prospect Blake Rutherford as the centerpiece of the return package for the major league trio of David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Todd Frazier, and after Clarkin went to the Cubs last week, Robertson was the last player from that deal left standing in the White Sox organization.

Well, add Clarkin back to that club and back to the 40-man roster. Last week, around the same time the Cubs' waiver claim was announced, the White Sox protected a quartet of minor leaguers from the Rule 5 Draft by adding them to the 40-man roster, and Clarkin was soon removed from it. Now he's back, and the White Sox 40-man roster stands at 39.

But, it wouldn't be any kind of shock to see the White Sox free up a 40-man spot by putting Clarkin on waivers again. Why? Because they already did it once.

Clarkin wasn't especially amazing in 2018. He split time between Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham, struggling at the latter stop to the tune of a 5.64 ERA in 68.2 innings. He made 18 appearances there, only 10 of which were starts.

So, thinking that other teams might not be super keen on bringing in someone who posted those numbers this past season, the White Sox might try to once more shake him from their 40-man roster to allow a spot for a different and at this point unknown player. But the White Sox expect to make some acquisitions this winter, so who knows who they could use those spots for. But Clarkin might not be one of them.

Maybe Clarkin will be a Cub again next week. And a White Sock again the week after that. And maybe this back-and-forth will continue for eternity. Clarkin, bouncing between the South Side and the North Side with the dependability of the Red Line.

Confusing enough? Welcome to the wonderful world of waivers.

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White Sox pitching prospect Ian Clarkin goes to Cubs on waivers

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AP

White Sox pitching prospect Ian Clarkin goes to Cubs on waivers

Ian Clarkin, one of the return pieces in the seven-player swap with the New York Yankees in 2017, is no longer with the White Sox organization after being picked up by the Cubs on waivers Tuesday.

Clarkin, a 23-year-old left-hander, was no longer ranked as one of the top 30 prospects in the White Sox loaded farm system.

He split time between Class A Winston-Salm and Double-A Birmingham in 2018, struggling at the latter stop to the tune of a 5.64 ERA in 68.2 innings. He made 18 appearances there, only 10 of which were starts.

The deal that sent David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Todd Frazier to the Bronx was the biggest of a flurry of trades made by the White Sox in the summer of 2017. But after Clarkin's departure to the other side of town, outfield prospect Blake Rutherford is the only member of the four-player return package still with the White Sox organization. Major league reliever Tyler Clippard was dealt to the Houston Astros later that same season. Outfield prospect Tito Polo became a minor league free agent this offseason. And now Clarkin is gone on waivers.

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