Before kicking off Cactus League action versus the Oakland Athletics, the White Sox signed 32-year-old former pen arm Zach Putnam to a minor league deal. The righty pitched for the Sox from 2014-2017 before needing Tommy John surgery after only 7 appearances in the 2017 season.
Putnam was drafted in the 5th round of the 2008 draft by the Cleveland Indians and made his major league debut in September of 2011. Things did not go well for him at first, as he managed a 12.44 ERA and and 51 ERA+ over 12.2 IP with the Indians, Rockies and Cubs up through the 2013 season. Then, in 2014, the White Sox took a chance on him and he seemed to find his stride. From 2014-2017 he made 130 appearances with a 2.35 ERA, 56 BBs, 149 Ks, and a 1.025 WHIP over 139.1 innings pitched.
Before his elbow surgery, Putnam was a staple in the bullpen for the White Sox. In 2020 he will start out with the AAA-affiliate Charlotte Knights, but major league bullpens can be fickle and volatile — if injuries come into play, Putnam may get another shot in the majors. Organizational pitching depth is important, and this could end up as a diamond in the rough — a low-risk, high-reward acquisition for the White Sox.
Featured photo: chicagotribune.com