David Stearns must have a thing for Chicago White Sox relief pitchers.
First Anthony Swarzak last season, then Joakim Soria ahead of this year’s non-waiver trade deadline, and now -- according to Ken Rosenthal -- left-hander Xavier Cedeno will be headed to the Milwaukee bullpen.
Aside from the 80-grade name, Cedeno has been very solid for the White Sox this year as a left specialist. He’s put up a 2.84 ERA in 33 games, striking out 28 batters over 25.1 innings. He has struggled with control at times, walking 13 batters in that span, but he’s only allowed one home run this year -- something that’s been a problem for a handful of Brewers relievers this year. It’s been a nice bounceback year for Cedeno, who missed most of last year with forearm soreness and fears of more serious arm injuries. The Tampa Bay Rays non-tendered him over the winter and he caught on with the White Sox.
Given the timing of the deal, this feels like a reaction to another former Ray, Dan Jennings, going down with a sprained ankle in yesterday’s series finale in Cincinnati, but with the schedule flipping to September and expanded rosters coming, you could argue another left-handed option was always something that was in the cards for the Brewers.
If the Brewers are hoping to bullpen teams to death in the final month, Cedeno is a good add. There’s no word yet on what the Brewers will be sending back to the south side of Chicago.
The Brewers have announced the deal:
LHP Xavier Cedeño has been acquired from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for OF Bryan Connell and RHP Johan Dominguez. Cedeño is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA (25.1ip, 8er) in 33 relief appearances this season. He has held opponents to a .204 batting average. pic.twitter.com/zwYGdZgp4u— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) August 31, 2018
Going back to the White Sox in the trade are two young players from rookie-level Helena. Bryan Connell, 19, was signed out of Panama and began his career in 2016. He spent two full seasons in the Dominican Summer League and posted a sub-.600 OPS in both before flashing some power this season. After a .256/.408/.512 start with five homers in 27 games, he was promoted straight to Helena for his first stateside assignment. There he’s batted .219/.288/.342 with two home runs in 80 plate appearances. Johan Dominguez, 22, also began his career with the org in 2016. He’s the owner of an impressive 0.82 ERA in 33.0 innings across three affiliates in 2018, striking out 36 batters while walking only 13.
To make room on the 40 man for the addition of Cedeno, the Brewers announced that they had DFA’d and outrighted Nate Orf off the roster. The pint-sized utilityman became a fan favorite on his journey from undrafted free agent to big leaguer, but he managed only an .095/.240/.232 slash in 25 plate appearances, though he does have the memory of his first big league home run. Orf’s three-week stint with Milwaukee leaves him still a few weeks shy of qualifying for his MLB pension. If he’s not re-added to the 40 man roster at some point, he is scheduled to become a minor league free agent this fall.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference