Chicago White Sox: Mitchell Boggs

Tote board: Odds for new Sox closer

May, 20, 2014
May 20
3:07
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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The Chicago White Sox will need a new closer now that Matt Lindstrom is on the disabled list, so in the spirit of horse racing's Triple Crown season, we will break down the contenders to win this particular race.

Ronald Belisario
[+] EnlargeRonald Belisario
David Banks/Getty ImagesRonald Belisario hasn't allowed an earned run in his last 12 appearances.
Post Position: 1; Right-handed; Weight: 240; Trainer: Don Cooper; Odds: 2-to-1
Primed to finally step up in class after inconsistent performances in recent years out west. Seven consecutive scoreless appearances and has not allowed an earned run in 12 games (17 ⅓ innings). Solid, two-inning outing in last appearance but might not be available immediately.

Jake Petricka
Post Position: 2; Right-handed; Weight: 205; Trainer: Don Cooper; Odds: 4-to-1
Showing comfort at this level in each outing, but still might be too soon to be counted on as the everyday closer. Earned maiden save Monday night with a pickoff at second and a groundout. Only 33 major league appearances, so inexperience still a concern.

Javy Guerra
Post Position: 3; Right-handed; Weight: 190; Trainer: Don Cooper; Odds: 6-to-1
Has performed at this role in the past with Dodgers: 21 saves in 23 chances in 2011. Hasn't pitched at this level this year and had just nine major league games in 2013 while pitching mostly at Triple-A. Last saved a major league game in 2012.

Zach Putnam
Post Position: 4; Right-handed; Weight: 225; Trainer: Don Cooper; Odds: 6-to-1
Multiple opportunities at this level with Indians, Rockies, Cubs and now White Sox. Looks to have finally found a comfort zone this season. Big reason why White Sox bullpen has turned it around so quickly this year. Might not be overpowering enough to get the closer call right now.

Daniel Webb
Post Position: 5; Right-handed; Weight: 215; Trainer: Don Cooper; Odds: 8-to-1
Another right-hander with good stuff, but limited experience. Just 26 appearances at this level, but last nine have been impressive (1.64 ERA in 11 innings). Could use time in a set-up role before advancing to closer. Nice future, but at this time, other options weigh heavier.

Scott Downs
Post Position: 6; Left-handed; Weight: 220; Trainer: Don Cooper; Odds: 10-to-1
Tons of experience here, not to mention a huge rebound of late from a disappointing start. Love the Louisville, Kentucky, roots and the fact that his name is "Downs." As the bullpen's only left-handed option, though, team is better served keeping the veteran as a situational guy.

Frank Francisco
Post Position: 7; Right-handed; Weight: 250; Trainer: Don Cooper; Odds: 20-to-1
Another entry with tons of experience, especially at closer. A total of 73 career saves suggests a pedigree to get the job done, but recent efforts say he isn't ready to rise to the occasion at the present time. More appearances needed before getting another chance to close.

ALSO ELIGIBLES: Hector Noesi (when Chris Sale returns from the DL); David Purcey (two saves at Charlotte); Mitchell Boggs (one save at Charlotte).

Boggs returns, Poveda traded

March, 30, 2014
Mar 30
4:25
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox made two minor moves Sunday in preparation for the start of the season, signing reliever Mitchell Boggs to a minor league deal and trading right-hander Omar Poveda to the Washington Nationals for cash considerations.

Boggs was signed by the White Sox to a one-year, $1.1 million deal this offseason but struggled in spring training and was released. He is back in the fold, and expected to be headed to Triple-A Charlotte, but the White Sox did not make that official.

Poveda was signed as a free agent by the White Sox in December. Prior to that, the 26-year-old right-hander pitched in the Atlanta Braves organization. He made just two Cactus League appearances with the White Sox this spring, posting a 15.00 ERA over three innings.

5 for '14: Did pen makeover go far enough?

March, 26, 2014
Mar 26
10:00
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Nate JonesAP Photo/Paul SancyaCloser candidate Nate Jones has dealt with command issues at times this spring.
Figuring out who is going to close games is only a part of the equation when it comes to the Chicago White Sox's bullpen.

It is the biggest decision, of course, but after an offseason of upheaval, there are plenty of new faces that will be trying to make themselves comfortable in the holding area at U.S. Cellular Field that sits beyond the left-field wall.

Left-hander Scott Downs is new, not to mention right-handers Ronald Belisario, Maikel Cleto and even Daniel Webb, who has just nine games of major league experience. Nate Jones and Matt Lindstrom remain in a duel for the closer role and that decision might not be made official until the first save situation of the season.

While most of the attention has gone to the youth movement being made with the everyday lineup, this year's bullpen has been mostly recognized for its subtractions rather than its additions. Closer Addison Reed was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, leaving some large shoes to fill, while mainstays Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain have also moved on.

And this year's bullpen has already had one setback as right-hander Mitchell Boggs, a member of Team USA in the World Baseball Classic just last year, has been released after he struggled in seven Cactus League outings.

Even if Lindstrom starts the season as the closer, the job figures to be Jones' eventually. Ultimately Jones will have to overcome command issues that not only affected him in the first two months last season, but have also crept up on him at times this spring. The 28-year-old still led the American League last season in batting average against first batters faced (.131), was fourth in strikeouts among relievers (89) and sixth in double plays induced (nine).

While Downs has 12 years of major league experience, that also means he isn't young anymore at age 38. He did post a 1.84 ERA in 29 1/3 innings with the Los Angeles Angels last season before he was traded to the Atlanta Braves to assist in their stretch run.

Figuring out what Belisario will be able to deliver won't be easy. His habit of arriving late to spring training were evident again with his new team. What was also evident when he pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers was the tendency to run out of gas as the season wore on. May and June are typically his best months, with July being his least productive, next to April and August.

SportsNation

In the event Nate Jones is the closer, who is the White Sox's best option for primary setup man?

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Discuss (Total votes: 476)

If Boggs was the most disappointing addition this winter, then claiming Cleto could be the pleasant surprise if the hard-throwing right-hander can deliver after not gaining any traction in big league stints each of the past three seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH FOR



By the time Jones got it going last season, two months of the season had passed and he had already made 21 appearances. Even if he doesn't close, a quicker start could help to solidify roles.

If Webb continues the rise he started last year when he opened the season at the Class A level, it could mean a higher-profile role before the summer is complete. He will have modest expectations early, but a huge year could put him in the team's young core moving forward.

Oblique injuries are tricky since they aren't quite healed even when the discomfort goes away. The White Sox can't afford a significant setback in Lindstrom's recovery, especially since all of their bullpen roles, outside of a late-inning left-hander, remain up in the air.

Bullpen moves to top of worry list

March, 12, 2014
Mar 12
1:02
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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Nate JonesAP Photo/Paul SancyaNate Jones is back on the mound after missing time with a gluteus muscle strain.


While they had questions on offense, defense, base running, third base and catcher when the spring began, yet another group now is requiring the most attention for the Chicago White Sox.

The club isn’t in a bullpen crisis, exactly, but it is clear that after a week and a half of Cactus League games, there remains a ton of work to do with the relief corps.

Mitchell Boggs is struggling, Scott Downs hasn’t looked sharp yet, Nate Jones and Daniel Webb have barely pitched and Ronald Belisario and Matt Lindstrom haven’t even taken the mound. Belisario, a late arrival because of visa issues in his native Venezuela, is scheduled to pitch in his first game Thursday.

(Read full post)

Reliever Boggs not short on confidence

February, 17, 2014
Feb 17
11:50
AM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- That one-year, $1.1 million deal Mitchell Boggs signed to pitch for the Chicago White Sox this season doesn’t suggest this is a reliever ready to dominate in 2014.

[+] EnlargeMitchell Boggs
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesMitchell Boggs is hoping to rebound from a rough 2013 season.
Ask Boggs about it, though, and the man himself has a decidedly different opinion of his chances to return to the type of force he was with the St. Louis Cardinals as recently as 2012.

In Boggs’ best season in St. Louis, he finished with a 2.21 ERA over 78 outings. He faced 296 batters that season and gave up 56 hits, lower than his previous three seasons when he faced fewer batters.

“I said this in the past, and that was my mindset two years ago, I’m not going to worry about the situation, I’m going to go out there and pitch the way I'm capable of pitching and the situation will take care of itself,” Boggs said from in front of his White Sox locker. “I still feel that way. I feel like I could be as good as I have ever been here and I look forward to going out and doing that.”

The key to Boggs’ success might be as simple as a calm, quiet spring training. It was far from that last year, when his 2012 season earned him a spot on Team USA for the 2013 World Baseball Classic and he spent his offseason preparing to make key outs in early March instead of April.

(Read full post)

White Sox aimed toward dirty dozen

February, 7, 2014
Feb 7
4:55
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- If the Chicago White Sox are going to make sacrifices in order to carry a roster with three first basemen, apparently it won't be the pitching staff that will be required to operate with one less body.

[+] EnlargeMitchell Boggs
AP Photo/David ZalubowskiMitchell Boggs had a season to forget in 2013.
The White Sox's latest roster move Friday suggested a 12-man pitching staff as former St. Louis Cardinals set-up man Mitchell Boggs was signed to a one-year, $1.1 million deal.

In addition to five starting pitchers, the White Sox could be looking at a bullpen of Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom, Scott Downs, Daniel Webb, Ronald Belisario, Boggs and a probable long man.

Because this season will likely start with Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and Jose Abreu on the roster, the White Sox will need to be creative when it comes to deciding on the final 25 players for Opening Day.

It's possible the bullpen could still be the area that will have to operate a man down. Webb has just nine games of major league experience so he could end up being the odd man out. Or they could just elect to go without a long man.

But Webb showed last season he is ready for his chance and a solid spring should lock up his roster spot. The long man also seems to be a necessity because the rotation could include a young pitcher, most likely Erik Johnson, and perhaps Felipe Paulino, who has undergone Tommy John surgery and a shoulder procedure since he last pitched in the major leagues for the Kansas City Royals in 2012.

Long-man candidates include Charlie Leesman, Andre Rienzo, Eric Surkamp and Dylan Axelrod. The pitcher who makes the most sense in that group is Axelrod, which would allow Leesman, Rienzo and Surkamp to continue starting at Triple-A Charlotte and be ready to join the major league rotation if needed.

For teams electing to go away from a 12-man staff, the trend around baseball tends to be an increase to 13 pitchers rather than dialing it back to 11. General manager Rick Hahn said this offseason that an 11-man staff has been talked about for Opening Day, but it wasn't the favored scenario.

One possibility for roster wiggle room is a roster of just four outfielders. Assuming a starting outfield of Dayan Viciedo in left field, Adam Eaton in center and Avisail Garcia in right field, Alejandro De Aza could be the backup at all three spots.

Leury Garcia, who is expected to make the roster in a utility role and serve as the primary backup at shortstop, could also play some outfield if needed.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jose Abreu
BA HR RBI R
.312 33 97 70
OTHER LEADERS
HRJ. Abreu 33
RBIJ. Abreu 97
RJ. Abreu 70
OPSJ. Abreu .969
WC. Sale 10
ERAC. Sale 2.03
SOC. Sale 165