Saturday, February 3, 2024

White Sox Take Flier On Former Mariners Right-Hander Juan Then

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The White Sox have inked right-handed reliever Juan Then to a minor-league deal. According to MLB.com’s transaction logs the deal was done on January 24th.  Then (pronounced “Ten”)  will be assigned to Triple-A Charlotte. 



The soon-to-be 24-year-old got his first taste of MLB action last season with the Seattle Mariners. Then appeared in nine games, logging 11 innings. He posted a 4.91 ERA with five strikeouts and three walks. While he allowed three home runs during that stretch he managed to produce a 63.4% ground ball rate. Then elected free agency after being outrighted by the Mariners in August. 

While Then has been assigned to Triple-A he will have a good opportunity to receive big league innings. The White Sox bullpen was gutted last season after Kendall Graveman, Reynaldo Lopez, and Keynan Middleton were dealt at the trade deadline. Aaron Bummer was then traded over the offseason. The front office also elected to decline former closer Liam Hendriks’s 2024 option. 

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The competition for innings in the White Sox bullpen is wide open. General manager Chris Getz has brought in a cast of fresh faces to restock the bullpen which includes Tim Hill, John Brebbia, and Rule 5 pick Shane Drohan. Other minor-league signings in the mix include Jake Woodfield, Joe Barlow, and Jake Cousins.

Unfortunately for Then, he is out of minor-league options so if he cracks a spot on the big league roster he will have to hold onto it for the remainder of the season. 

Then joined the Mariners organization at the age of 17 as an international signing in 2016. He began his professional career with the DSL Mariners, posting a 2.64 ERA in 13 games as a starter.  The Mariners traded him to the Yankees the following season in a package deal for Nick Rumbelow in November of  2017. The change of scenery didn’t affect his performance. In 11 starts in the Yankees system, he posted a 2.70 ERA in 50 innings, with 42 strikeouts and just 11 walks. However, he was dealt back to the Mariners on June 15th, 2019, in exchange for Edwin Encarnacion. It marked the second major trade Then had been involved in before turning 20. 

To keep him out of the Rule 5 Draft, the Mariners added him to their 40-man roster in 2020. After not being able to pitch competitively due to the minor league season getting canceled that year he struggled to shake off the rust when he returned to the mound in 2021. Then was tagged for a 6.46 ERA in 54.1 innings of work. He dealt with injury issues the following season which limited him to just 12 innings. 

Last season he tossed 36 ⅓ innings between stints in Double-A and Triple-A and the struggles continued. Opponents hit .411 off of him on balls in play, resulting in an 8.92 ERA. 

While the numbers are a bit of an eyesore, Then still offers some upside for the White Sox. His fastball and sinker sit in the mid-90s while his slider produced a 30% whiff rate in the show last season. At just 23 years old (turns 24 on February 7th) he still has plenty of miles on his arm and is worth a flier for a White Sox team not expected to do much in 2024.

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Hehateme30
Hehateme30
Feb 3, 2024 8:11 am

Forget about Then, what about Now?!

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