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White Sox sign Al Alburquerque to minors deal

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The White Sox signed right-hander Al Alburquerque to a minor league deal on Friday. Alburquerque was released by the Royals last week and has made just 11 big league appearances this season. He has been assigned to the White Sox’ Triple-A Charlotte, where he’ll attempt to exhibit more consistency on the mound before making another leap to the majors.

Alburquerque, 31, has seen limited major league opportunities over the last few seasons. He picked up a minor league contract with the Angels to start the 2016 season, but pitched only two innings before being demoted to Triple-A Salt Lake and was finally released by the club in August. His last productive season came in 2014, when he developed a 2.51 ERA and maintained a career-best 3.3 BB/9 rate over 57 1/3 innings with the Tigers. In 2017, the right-hander issued seven hits, four runs and nine strikeouts over 10 innings with the Royals.

Whether or not Alburquerque will hit his stride in Chicago remains to be seen, but the acquisition is relatively risk-free for the White Sox, who are currently on the hunt for more bullpen depth. Even with recent additions like right-handers Danny Farquhar, Mark Lowe and Jean Machi, their relief corps ranks 12th among major league competitors with a collective 3.94 ERA and 3.2 fWAR.

Angels fire back at Rob Manfred’s comments re: Mike Trout

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Angels outfielder Mike Trout‘s marketability has been a topic of conversation in recent days as the best players in baseball converged upon Washington, D.C. for the All-Star Game. We learned that, according to one firm that measures consumer appeal of personalities, Trout is as recognizable to the average American as Brooklyn Nets reserve forward Kenneth Faried, despite being far and away the best player in baseball and one of the greatest players ever to play the game.

Commissioner Rob Manfred also addressed Trout’s marketability, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reported. Manfred said, “Mike has made decisions on what he wants to do, doesn’t want to do, how he wants to spend his free time or not spend his free time. I think we could help him make his brand very bug. But he has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort.”

The Angels fired back on Wednesday, releasing a statement that said:

On behalf of the Angels Organization and baseball fans everywhere, congratulations to Mike Trout on another outstanding All-Star Game performance.

Mike Trout is an exceptional ambassador for the game. Combined with his talent, his solid character creates a perfect role model for young people everywhere. Each year, Mike devotes a tremendous amount of his time and effort contributing to our Organization, and marketing Major League Baseball. He continually chooses to participate in the community, visiting hospitals, schools, and countless other charities. One of Mike’s traits that people admire most is his humility. His brand is built upon generously spending his time engaging with fans, both at home and on the road, while remaining a remarkable baseball player and teammate.

In addition, Mike spends quality time as a husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend. We applaud him for prioritizing his personal values over commercial self-promotion. That is rare in today’s society and stands out as much as his extraordinary talent.

It’s not on Trout to build a brand that appeals to MLB’s marketing department, so the Angels are right to back Trout’s decision to stay out of the limelight. The Angels’ motivation likely isn’t entirely selfless, however, as supporting him in this situation may make it more enticing for him to sign a contract extension before his current contract expires after the 2020 season.