The White Sox made yet another minor move on Tuesday morning, bringing back old friend Dylan Axelrod on a minor league contract after non-tendering him back in early December.
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Axelrod got an extended look at the big league level for the first time in 2013, appearing in a career-high 30 games including 20 starts. He earned his way into the starting rotation to start the season, and for awhile did not disappoint.
In his first 16 starts he was pretty solid in 11 times out there, but started to struggle consistently in June and July. Axe turns 29 over the summer and has the ceiling of a AAAA pitcher that you like to have in a spot start role. He's had a very nice minor league career and it was great to see him get his shot with the big league club last year, but we don't want you to read too much into this move.
He finished 2013 with a 5.68 ERA and a 1.660 WHIP in 128.1 innings.
We assume Felipe Paulino or Andre Rienzo will be the team's no.5 guy to start the season, and if the first guy up falters the other will probably step in. The odd man out of that duo will also have a good chance at a long-relief bullpen role to start the year.
As we recently discussed, there isn't a ton of starting pitching depth organizationally, but with a few youngsters already penciled in to the rotation of the future and a few solid prospects in Chris Beck, Scott Snodgress and Chris Bassitt doing well in the minors, the team is pretty much set for right now in that area.
We're not totally sure how recent signee Eric Surkamp will be used – whether he'll get a shot at a bullpen role or serve as starter depth in AAA – but if he is a starter for Charlotte, Axelrod will probably be right there with him as a guy that can be called up in a pinch if the big league club needs someone to make a start and eat up some innings.