In what’s surely to be the most groundbreaking move in Major League Baseball this season, the White Sox optioned Deunte Heath to AAA Charlotte after yesterday’s loss in Minnesota, and Brian Omogrosso was recalled to take his place in the bullpen.
Ok, I’m being sarcastic. This is pretty insignificant when it comes to roster moves, as we are talking about a team basically swapping mop-up relievers.
In fact, it’s a swap that’s taken place for the Sox a few times already this season. This will be Heath’s third demotion to AAA and Omogrosso’s second promotion to the big league club this season. By now, I’d be shocked if both of these guys aren’t apart of some airline’s rewards program earning free flights overseas or to some exotic vacation spot given all of the fights they have taken to and from Charlotte.
So, other than giving Sox fans a small chuckle, what is the whole point here? Why just continuously swap long relievers as often as a Chicago (or any) politician flip-flops?
Well, in this case, Brian Omogrosso is a bit of an upgrade over Deunte Heath. Heath pitched in five games this season, allowing runs in four of them, two or more runs in three of them, at least one walk in all of them, and two or more walks in four of them. The final numbers for Heath, assuming the Sox let him relax his frequent flyer miles and do not recall him the rest of this season, are an 11.74 ERA and a 2.61 WHIP. Yeah, he was pretty awful.
Omogrosso was by no means spectacular in his Major League stint earlier this season, but he was at least competent. In 11 games, he recorded a 5.14 ERA, which actually isn’t too different than his AAA ERA of 4.91. He also did a decent job last season for the White Sox, recording a 2.75 ERA over 17 appearances during a pennant race. Plus, he’s a GSB! Interviewee, so to us, he’s pretty cool.
It makes much more sense to have him on the roster over Heath just based on the fact that Omogrosso has proven he can be effective at times, while Heath has not shown any sort of consistency. An extended stint on the big league club should let the team know whether or not he has a place in future seasons.
While the White Sox have struggled this season, the starting rotation has not, so the role of long relief has not been utilized all too much. Omogrosso’s opportunities could initially be slim, but given his success in 2012, he could work himself into a larger role if he pitches well and some of the current bullpen arms as the trade deadline draws near.