The White Sox have signed reliever Jhan Mariñez to a minor league contract, according to the team’s transactions log at MLB.com. Chicago also added outfielder Cornelius Randolph on a non-roster pact.
Mariñez has 103 MLB appearances under his belt. He broke into the majors as a 21-year-old with the Marlins back in 2010, making four appearances. Regarded at the time as one of the more promising pitching prospects in the Florida farm system, he was sent to the White Sox in September 2011 as compensation for Chicago allowing manager Ozzie Guillén to be released from his contract to take the same role with the Fish. Mariñez made a pair of appearances with the Sox the following season but he was outrighted off their roster after a rough Triple-A showing in 2013.
It took a few seasons for Mariñez to make it back to the major league level, but he found a bit of success upon returning in 2016. After a few innings with the Rays, Mariñez landed in Milwaukee and tossed 58 2/3 innings of 3.22 ERA ball. He pitched to a 3.70 mark between three clubs the following season but never missed the kind of bats one would expect from a reliever with a fastball that averaged just under 96 MPH.
Now 33 years old, he’s trying to make his first big league return since an eight-inning stint with the Orioles in 2018. Mariñez’s 3.56 career ERA isn’t bad, but his strikeout and walk numbers (17.1% and 10.2%, respectively) have been underwhelming. The Dominican Republic native has a 3.54 ERA in six career Triple-A seasons, where he’s punched out a more palatable 24.2% of opponents. He’s spent the past two seasons only participating in winter ball action, but he’ll now return to the affiliated ranks and try to pitch his way back onto the big league radar in his second stint with the Sox.
Randolph has never played in the majors, but he garnered some prospect attention early in his career. The Phillies selected him out of a Georgia high school with the tenth overall pick in the 2015 draft. Randolph appeared at the back half of Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list the following winter after raking in rookie ball. Always projected to be a left fielder, he had a high offensive bar to clear though. The hope was he’d be a polished enough hitter to overcome those defensive concerns, but that didn’t play out in Philadelphia.
The lefty-hitting Randolph has always drawn a fair amount of walks, but he’s never hit more than 13 home runs in a minor league season. He’s dealt with increasing strikeout issues on his way up the ladder, including a 30.5% strikeout rate in 164 Triple-A plate appearances last year. Randolph owns a .254/.342/.377 line as a professional and hit .235/.323/.386 in his first crack at the minors’ top level. The 24-year-old elected minor league free agency at the end of last season and will try to earn a big league look in his new organization.