Saturday, July 13, 2024

White Sox DFA Brad Keller After Rough Outing

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Brad Keller’s brief tenure with the Chicago White Sox appears to be over. On Monday the White Sox announced that they had designated Keller for assignment and activated Dominic Leone from the 15-day injured list to fill Keller’s spot on the active roster. 

Keller was recently promoted into the starting rotation after the team announced they were bumping Michael Sorkoa to the bullpen. At the time, Keller had a 2.84 ERA in four appearances, which included a start in St. Louis. 

However, the 28-year-old right-hander got roughed up in his return to the rotation, allowing four home runs in Saturday’s 6-1 loss to the Yankees. In just four innings of work, Keller allowed all six of those runs, five of which were earned. Keller finished the day surrendering seven hits, a walk, and four strikeouts. 

After spending his first six MLB seasons with the Kansas City Royals, Keller signed a minor league deal with the White Sox this offseason. The signing was unpopular with much of the fan base, given Keller’s role in a 2019 benches-clearing incident between the White Sox and Royals after he intentionally hit Tim Anderson with a pitch.  Anderson had bat-flipped a home run off of Keller earlier in the game. White Sox catcher Martin Maldonado was catching for the Royals during the fight. Keller was later suspended five games by the MLB. 

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Keller’s career got off to a respectable start in Kansas City. During his rookie year in 2018, he appeared in 41 games, (20 starts) and posted a 3.08 ERA. He then posted a 5-3 record and a 2.47 ERA during the shortened 2020 season. Unfortunately for Keller, he produced a combined 5.14 ERA in his final three seasons in Kansas City, before his 2023 season was cut short by thoracic outlet syndrome, which required surgery in October. 

The White Sox front office scooped him up, hoping he could serve as an innings eater. He was deployed in a variety of different roles. He made two starts and three relief appearances across 16.2 innings of work for the South Siders. Keller had thrown the ball well before facing a Yankees lineup that tormented White Sox starters all series. Unfortunately for the 28-year-old right-hander, his 4.86 ERA and 17.7% strikeout rate probably won’t draw the attention of many teams. 

Keller did produce a 57.9% ground ball rate which ranks in the MLB’s 94th percentile while also limiting his walk rate to 7.9%. Getting DFA’d so quickly seems unfair given the body of work he had turned in. However, Keller has no future with the White Sox and the front office is likely trying to give Jared Shuster, or some of their younger arms in Triple-A a more extended look. 

The White Sox will now attempt to trade Keller before he goes on waivers. If he clears waivers he will likely elect free agency since he has accumulated enough MLB service time to reject an outright assignment.

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