On the afternoon of the 2016 Major League Baseball first year player draft, the Chicago White Sox, who own three of the first 50 picks, were busy, making other roster moves in an attempt to stop the bleeding on the Southside.
The White Sox designated starting pitcher Mat Latos for assignment. The White Sox have 10 day to outright, release, or trade Latos. Latos does have the option to refuse a minor league assignment and test the open market if the White Sox decide to go that route with him.
Latos was 6-2 with a 4.62 ERA in 11 starts this season, but has struggled mightily since a hot start in April. Latos posted a 4-0 record to go along with a pristine 1.84 ERA in the month of April, with opponents hitting just .218 against him over that span. May/June were nearly the exact opposite for the 28-year-old right-hander, as he split four decisions in that time, while his ERA and opponents batting average soared to 6.41 and .318 in May, and 12.46 and.313 in June.
His start in the opener of the Nationals series was the final straw for General Manager Rick Hahn who watched Latos throw just 4 1/3 innings while allowing six runs on five hits, and four walks in the process of flushing away two different early innings leads provided to him by the White Sox offense.
The White Sox have already made a corresponding move this afternoon, purchasing the contract of 21-year-old right-handed starting pitcher Tyler Danish. Danish, a former second round pick by the White Sox in the 2013 MLB Draft will get some work out of the bullpen to begin his professional career, with Miguel Gonzalez moving back into the starting rotation for the time being.
Danish was 3-7 with a 4.42 ERA in 12 starts this season for the White Sox Double-A affiliate, the Birmingham Barons.
The White Sox also signed former Minnesota Twin Justin Morneau to a one year, $1 million deal, and immediately placed him on the 15-Day Disabled List. Morneau is a 35-year-old first baseman who has spent parts of 13 major league seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Colorado Rockies. Morneau was limited to just 49 games in 2015 with the Rockies, over which time he posted a .310 batting average with three home runs, and 15 RBI.
Morneau is a career .282 hitter with a .349 career on base percentage, and 241 home runs. The Morneau signing is a low-risk, cheap addition that might remedy the White Sox gaping need for another left-handed power hitter in the lineup when he comes off of the disabled list, he also would be the only true first-baseman on the 25-man roster providing the option for Jose Abreu to take some days off down the line.
The White Sox will continue to make moves this evening as they hold three picks in the first two rounds of tonight’s 2016 MLB Draft. Look for my piece breaking down the newest members of the White Sox this evening shortly after the draft wraps up, and tune in to MLB Network at 6:00 pm central time to watch the draft live.