White Sox Re-Sign Kyle Crick, Sign Ryder Jones
The White Sox have re-signed reliever Kyle Crick and signed infielder Ryder Jones, per Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America. Crick joined the White Sox Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte last July after being released by the Pirates, while Jones, whose last taste of the majors came in 2018, spent 2021 bouncing around the Diamondbacks’ system. Both signed minor league deals.
Crick, a one-time high-end prospect in the Giants’ system, tossed 24 1/3 innings of 4.44 ERA ball with the Pirates in 2021. But while his top-line numbers hovered around league average and he didn’t allow a single home run, an elevated walk rate (17.8%) and below-average strikeout rate (19.6%) suggest he may have been buoyed by a bit of luck. The righty did put forth a strong showing at Triple-A Charlotte — a 0.87 ERA with three walks and 15 Ks in 10 1/3 innings — in a small sample, but the call back to the bigs never came.
For his career, Crick has posted a 3.51 ERA (4.25 FIP) in 171 2/3 innings across parts of five seasons with the Giants and Pirates. After a strong debut (3.06 ERA in 32 1/3 innings) following a 2017 mid-season call-up with San Francisco, the Texan looked like a bona fide high-leverage option after heading to Pittsburgh (with Bryan Reynolds) for Andrew McCutchen ahead of the 2018 season, in which he logged a 2.39 ERA (3.14 FIP) in 60 1/3 innings across 64 appearances. Control problems began to bite in 2019, however, and elevated walk and home run rates (15.5% and 4.4%, respectively) saw his ERA balloon to 4.96 before a broken finger (sustained in a clubhouse fight with teammate Felipe Vázquez) ended his season in September. Crick did post a 1.59 ERA in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but he was limited to only 5 2/3 innings due to right shoulder problems.
Like Crick, Jones came up in the Giants system. Primarily a third baseman, he reached the bigs in 2017 but posted a meager .173/.244/.273 batting line in 164 plate appearances across 53 games. Including a further 8 trips to the plate logged in 2018, Jones’ career line stands at .185/.250/.316, a far cry from the solid .283/.347/.467 Triple-A line he’s put together in 782 plate appearances across parts of four seasons at that level. After becoming a minor league free agent following the 2019 season, the lefty-swinging Jones signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox before spending 2020 with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Constellation Energy League following the cancellation of the minor league season. He signed a minor league deal with Arizona ahead of the 2021 season and compiled a .288/.344/.500 line in 293 trips to the plate across three levels.
Of the two, Crick likely has the easier path to breaking spring training with the big club, where he’ll be given a chance to slot in at the back end of a solid White Sox bullpen. The South Siders’ starting infield is set between Jose Abreu, Leury Garcia, Tim Anderson, and Yoan Moncada, but Jones will hope to benefit from the mid-season departure of Nick Madrigal in the Craig Kimbrel deal; he’ll vie for a bench slot as a backup infielder alongside the more versatile Danny Mendick, though the White Sox are likely to bring in at least a few more bodies to compete for bench roles.