LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The White Sox made their third acquisition of the winter meetings on Thursday when they selected catcher Adrian Nieto in the Rule 5 draft.
Nieto, 24, appeared in 110 games for the Washington Nationals’ Single-A Potomac club and finished with a .285/.373/.449 slash line with 11 home runs and 53 RBI.
Even though Rule 5 selections face much greater odds of working out -- players selected must remain on the team’s 25-man roster all season -- the White Sox want to explore every option possible to upgrade the roster at catcher.
While the selection doesn’t mean general manager Rick Hahn’s search for a potential backstop is complete, the club will give Nieto a shot after White Sox catchers combined for a .560 OPS last season.
“(He’s) a switch-hitter, solid defensive skills, plus arm, some pop and some good plate discipline,” Hahn said. “Any time you take a guy in Rule 5, you are rushing his development a little bit so it’s a longer shot of it working out, but this kid made some real nice strides in 2013 in terms of development. We figure, bring him in and give him the shot and have some competition. It doesn’t mean by any means we are done in terms of our search for potential upgrades. This is another avenue to try to bring in some talent.”
The White Sox were busy throughout the four-day conference.
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They began with the signing of right-handed pitcher Felipe Paulino on Monday. On Tuesday, Hahn traded pitcher Hector Santiago as part of a three-way deal that landed the club center fielder Adam Eaton.
Hahn said the team has made gains in trade talks and could have more action soon but nothing is certain.
“There’s always the sense this time of year that you are one phone call away from closing something off,” Hahn said. “But until you agree to terms and all the contingencies are met, you never know. I’m not counting on anything in the coming days, but we did have some real good dialogue and made some progress on a couple of different fronts. We’ll see if any of them bear fruit.”
The White Sox also added two players in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft. They selected left-handed pitcher Evan Crawford from Toronto at the Triple-A draft and grabbed catcher Omar Narvaez from Tampa Bay at the Double-A draft. The White Sox lost one player in all three phases of the draft when Miami selected outfielder Brady Shoemaker in the Triple-A draft.