Matt Foster Could Factor In 2020 Bullpen
The White Sox closed the door on their three-year rebuilding project this offseason.
On Nov. 21, they made an early splash by signing free agent catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million contract.
The next day, Chicago locked up all-star first baseman Jose Abreu on a three-year, $50 million deal.
"I can say it sends a message, but it's frankly going to ring hollow if we don't reinforce that with further acquisitions,” general manager Rick Hahn said. "We know we have more work to do."
The White Sox pared the payroll from 2017-19, leaving them flush with cash.
But they are still committed to tapping the upgraded farm system for major league help, especially in the bullpen.
That's where 24-year-old righthander Matt Foster is in play for the upcoming season.
"He’s a solid reliever who isn’t too far off from being able to help us in Chicago,” farm director Chris Getz said.
Foster is on Chicago's 40-man roster after having his contract purchased on Nov. 20.
Drafted in the 20th round in 2016 out of Alabama, Foster had instant success as a pro, posting a 0.61 ERA to go with 11 saves in 22 games at the Rookie-level affiliates in the Arizona League and at Great Falls.
In 2017, the righthander missed the first two months of the season while dealing with an off-field issue.
"He had some personal things going on in 2017 that took him away from the game," Getz said, "but he settled those matters and has been extremely focused and determined since his return."
Foster steadily climbed the minor league ladder after returning and he finished 2019 at Triple-A Charlotte, recording a 3.76 ERA with four saves in 37 games.
The 6-foot, 205-pound Foster also had 62 strikeouts in 55 innings.
"Matt is a three-pitch strike-thrower,” Getz said. "He can run his fastball up to 95 (mph), has a pretty good slider and he has one of the better changeups that we have in the organization. He was often in the mix for a callup in 2019 and was able to navigate a difficult place to pitch in Charlotte last season.”
— Thought to be on a clear path to the Chicago dugout, Omar Vizquel parted ways with the organization after managing Double-A Birmingham in 2019 and high Class A Winston-Salem in 2018.
— To open a roster spot for Yasmani Grandal, the White Sox designated outfielder Daniel Palka for assignment. The lefthanded slugger popped 27 home runs for Chicago in 2018 but followed that by going just 9-for-84 (.107) with two homers in 30 games in 2019. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Charlotte last season