White Sox add Cease, 3 others to 40-man
Left-hander Clarkin claimed off waivers by Cubs
CHICAGO -- The White Sox purchased the contracts of right-hander Dylan Cease and left-hander Kodi Medeiros from Double-A Birmingham, and right-hander Jordan Stephens and catcher Seby Zavala from Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday.
None of these four moves was unexpected, with eligible players being protected from the Rule 5 Draft to take place on the final day of the upcoming Winter Meetings in Las Vegas via their 40-man addition. Cease, 22, was a no-doubter after being named MLB Pipeline's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2018 with a 12-2 record and 2.40 ERA over 23 starts between Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham.
Cease, who is the No. 25 prospect overall per MLB Pipeline and No. 3 for the White Sox, fanned 160 in a career-high 124 innings pitched. He posted a 3-0 mark with a 0.94 ERA (five earned runs in 47 2/3 innings) and 71 strikeouts over his final nine starts of the season with Birmingham. The right-hander could follow a similar later season path to the Majors in 2019 as Michael Kopech and Reynaldo Lopez before him.
"It was exciting, and it definitely means that you're heading in the right direction," said Cease, of his MLB Pipeline honor during a recent interview. "Just motivational for getting into the offseason and lifting and getting ready for next year.
"Honestly, it's just being more consistent with it. Continuing to figure out my process with it, taking care of my body, all the little things that go into being a professional. Because all that stuff adds up at the end of the day."
Other 2018 honors for Cease included being named as a U.S. player in the Futures Game during All-Star Week and being named to the Carolina League All-Star team with Winston-Salem. He was acquired by the White Sox from the Cubs with now-No. 1 White Sox prospect Eloy Jimenez in a five-player deal on July 13, 2017, that send left-hander Jose Quintana to the Cubs.
"Now I know that my training in the offseason was good," Cease said. "I can keep doing that. I can add to that. Work on nutrition. This year definitely was a big confidence boost in a lot of these areas."
Medeiros, 22, was picked up from the Brewers with right-hander Wilber Perez on July 26 in a deal that sent Joakim Soria to Milwaukee. Medeiros finished 7-7 with a 3.60 ERA and 141 strikeouts over 137 2/3 innings in 27 games (22 starts) between stops at Double-A Biloxi and Birmingham in '18. He is Chicago's No. 19 prospect.
Zavala, 25, joined Welington Castillo and Omar Narvaez as catchers on the White Sox 40-man. The San Diego State product, who played for Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, hit .258 with 22 doubles, 13 home runs, 51 RBIs and 50 runs during 104 games between Birmingham and Charlotte in 2018. He combined to throw out 32.7 percent (18-for-55) of attempted basestealers and was named a Southern League midseason All-Star with the Barons. He has been mentioned with Zack Collins, the team's top pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, as part of the team's catchers of the future.
Stephens, 26, combined to go 8-10 with a 4.23 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 146 2/3 inning over 28 combined starts between Birmingham and Charlotte last season. The team's No. 20 prospect originally was selected by the White Sox in the 15th round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Rice University and provides the White Sox pitching depth.
Left-handed hurler Ian Clarkin, who was part of the seven-player deal that sent Player Page for David Robertson, Todd Frazier and Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees and Blake Rutherford to the White Sox in 2017, was claimed off waivers by the Cubs. Following the moves, the White Sox 40-man roster sits at 38.
Right-handed pitchers Spencer Adams, 22, and Zach Thompson, 25, were two of the more interesting players left exposed by Chicago to the Rule 5 Draft. Adams was the team's second-round pick in 2014 and has a 3.82 ERA over 115 games and 114 starts. Thompson, a fifth-round pick in '14, is coming off a breakout season with a 1.55 ERA and 76 strikeouts over 75 1/3 innings between Winston-Salem and Birmingham.