White Sox sign Rafael Dolis to minor league deal

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The White Sox recently signed relievers Raphael Dolis to a minor league contract, as noted by Baseball America‘s Chris Hilburn-Trenkle. According to Dolis’ transaction tracker at MLB.com, he was assigned to the team’s Arizona complex. After some time to build up arm strength, he considers going to Triple-A Charlotte.

Dolis, 34, has spent the last two seasons with the Blue Jays. The 6’4″ right-hander signed a one-year guarantee with Toronto after playing heavily for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball for four years. He did well on his first return to the United States, working 24 innings to a 1.50 ERA with a 31% strikeout rate during the shortened 2020 season. He faced an alarming 14% of batters, but the Jays were still so impressed with his swing-and-miss acumen that they exercised a cheap $1.5 million option on his services for 2021.

That didn’t work out when Dolis wrestled last year. He pitched 32 innings — his biggest MLB workload since a 38-inning campaign with the Cubs in 2012 — but underperformed. Dolis only managed a 5.63 ERA and saw virtually all of his peripherals go in the wrong direction compared to last year. His strikeout percentage dropped to 25%, while his swinging strike rate dropped from 12.6% to a below-average 10.5%. The already worrisome walk count rose even further, while Dolis’ groundball rate fell from 50% to 41.4%.

As his fighting continued, the Jays designated Dolis for action and guided him through outright waivers in mid-August. He had better results with Triple-A Buffalo late in the year, but continued to show control issues and the Jays never reinserted him into the 40-man roster. Dolis qualified for minor league free agency after the season and will look to return to the big leagues with the ChiSox.

He is supported by the former Yankee Brody grains, who also recently signed a non-roster with Chicago (h/t to Hilburn-Trenkle). Koerner was assigned directly to Charlotte earlier this month and has already made a number of appearances for the Knights. The 28-year-old got his first cup of coffee in the majors with New York last August when he ran in two games and threw three innings of a one-run ball.

Koerner, who was scheduled for action just before the Yankees’ wild card game and was finally eliminated, qualified for minor league free agency. The Clemson product has a 4.92 ERA in 228 2/3 innings at Triple-A, but he owns a more impressive 3.55 mark in three Double-A seasons. Koerner has come out of the bullpen for his first two games with Charlotte, but was primarily a starting pitcher during his time with the New York organization.

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