The Chicago White Sox have signed veteran reliever Frank Francisco to a minor league contract, tweets the Charlotte Knights, the Triple-A affiliate of the White Sox. As you've probably guessed, Chicago immediately assigned Francisco to Triple-A.
Frank Francisco signed and assigned to #CLTKnights today.— Charlotte Knights (@KnightsBaseball) April 14, 2014
The 34-year-old right-hander began his major league career with the Texas Rangers in 2004. Over the past 10 years, Francisco has compiled a career 3.93 ERA (114 ERA+), 3.62 FIP, and a 9.9 K/9. From 2009-2012, he served as the closer for the Rangers, Blue Jays, and Mets, netting 73 saves. Francisco was horrendous in 2012 (5.47 ERA though his FIP was much better at 3.90) during the first year of a two-year, $12.5 million deal he signed with the Mets as a free agent. The Mets planned to have him return as their closer last season, but he ultimately made just 8 appearances for the team due to elbow issues that kept him out for a majority of the season.
Always a hard thrower (career 94 MPH average fastball velocity), Francisco should provide solid depth for a White Sox bullpen that is currently missing their best pitcher (Nate Jones, who is recovering from lower back issues) and inspires little elsewhere. Right now, Francisco is set to serve as Triple-A fodder, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him play an important role in the back of Chicago's bullpen by season's end.