The White Sox still don’t know exactly what they have in Marcus Semien, but they’re moving a little closer to finding out with the decision to promote him from Double-A to Triple-A on Thursday.
Semien, a 2011 sixth-round pick, busted out in the second half of last season after an uninspiring first year as a pro. This season, he had hit .290/.420/.483 with 15 homers, 20 steals in 393 at-bats at-bats in Double-A.
What’s most impressive is the evolution of his strikeout to walk ratio:
2011: 53/22 K/BB in 229 AB
2012: 97/55 K/BB in 418 AB
2013: 66/84 K/BB in 393 AB
Semien, who was projected as a utilityman at the beginning of the season, has appeared in 47 games at short, 41 games at second and 17 at third this year. The White Sox have to decide whether they want to keep rotating him or to hand him a full-time position now that he looks more like a future regular. Gordon Beckham’s impressive rebound could leave the White Sox set at second base for a while longer, and Alexei Ramirez, though a trade candidate just 24 hours ago, is signed to play shortstop through 2015.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.