By Matt Meyers
December 8, 2005
In winning the World Series, one of the White Sox’ greatest strengths was their bullpen depth. They used some of that depth to add a valuable utility player, sending lefthander Damaso Marte back to the Pirates for Rob Mackowiak.
The 30-year-old Marte posted a 3.77 ERA in 45 innings for Chicago but fell out of favor due to control problems, having walked 33 batters. His best season was 2003, when he had a 1.58 ERA in 80 innings. Marte is a two-pitch pitcher with a low 90s fastball and a slider that is deadly against lefthanders, who have hit .188 against him over the last three seasons.
Originally signed by the Mariners in 1992 out of the Dominican Republic, Marte pitched just nine big league innings in Seattle in eight seasons in the organization. He signed with the Yankees as a minor league free agent before the 2001 season but was traded to the Pirates at midseason. He got his first extensive big league action in Pittsburgh and posted a 4.71 ERA in 26 innings of relief.
The Pirates dealt him to the White Sox the next spring, and he spent four seasons in Chicago. He is owed $2.25 million next year, with club options at $3 million annually for 2007 and 2008.
Mackowiak gives the White Sox a player who can fill in at first, second and third base and all three outfield spots. The 29-year-old is from Oak Lawn, Ill., a short drive from U.S. Cellular Field. A 53rd-round pick by the Pirates in the 1996 draft out of South Suburban (Ill.) Junior College, Mackowiak made his big league debut in 2001. He is a career .258 hitter and has been remarkably consistent, never posting an on-base plus slugging percentage below .726 or above .785 in his five year career.
While not spectacular defensively, he is adequate at all six spots and provides more pop than the typical utility man. He can be overly aggressive with breaking balls out of the zone and has struck out more than 100 times in three different seasons, but he has excellent pull power from a compact lefthanded swing.
Mackowiak earned $1.5 million in 2005 and is eligible for arbitration.