The Chicago White Sox claimed relief pitcher Alex Speas on waivers from the Texas Rangers on Tuesday. The transaction was announced then, but what with the playoff games and all that, I didn’t bother to put it up until now.
Speas was designated for assignment when the Rangers purchased the contract of Matt Bush in the final weekend of the season. Bush was brought up to replace reliever Jake Latz after Latz pitched two innings in relief on the Friday of the final weekend of the season, prompting the Rangers to want to get a fresh arm up. Latz had been brought up because starter Jon Gray had gone on the injured list.
Speas, 25, was a second round pick of the Rangers in 2016. A hard throwing righthander who had issues with his command throughout his career, Speas retired prior to the 2022 season, spending that year coaching. After that time away, he realized he still wanted to play and returned to the Rangers organization for the 2023 season, starting the year in AA Frisco, and ultimately making it to the majors in mid-July.
Speas was excellent in his first major league appearance, striking out three in 1.2 scoreless innings, but as Grant Anderson can tell you, the league can catch up with you quickly after a strong debut. Speas faced 8 batters over his next two appearances, walking five of them and retiring just one. Speas was sent down to Round Rock after that.
While Speas put up a 0.64 ERA in 28.1 IP with Frisco, striking out 47 and walking 13, AAA was more of a challenge, as he put up a 5.08 ERA, walking 25 and striking out 38. He appeared to be a potential bubble 40 man roster guy this offseason, and so it wasn’t all that surprising that the Rangers designated him for assignment.
Speas now joins a rebuilding Chicago White Sox team. Given that Speas has two options remaining after this year, the White Sox can be patient with him and see if he can make strides in the minors.