Tyler Flowers was handed the starting catcher job following A.J. Pierzynski’s departure as a free agent, but he’s hit just .206 with 70 strikeouts in 64 games and now the White Sox are bringing in another option behind the plate.
Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that the White Sox are calling up Triple-A catcher Josh Phegley, who’s hitting .316 with 15 homers, 18 doubles, and a .966 OPS in 61 games for Charlotte.
That’s certainly production worthy of a call-up, but Phegley is 25 years old and has never hit anywhere near that well before. Last season at Triple-A he hit just .266 with six homers and a .680 OPS in 102 games and his career slugging percentage in five seasons as a minor leaguer is .417.
Pierzynski, meanwhile, has hit .280 with seven homers and a .745 OPS in 62 games for the Rangers to basically match his career averages at age 36.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.