When the Padres traded for Freddy Galvis last week, a spot needed to be opened up on the 40-man roster for the team’s new shortstop. Reliever Jose Ruiz was designated for assignment to create that spot. Today it was announced that the Chicago White Sox claimed the hard-throwing righty off waivers.
Jose Ruiz was signed in July 2011 as a 16-year-old Venezuelan catcher. He continued to catch through the first five years of his pro career, but he struggled to hit consistently. What he did well through that time was display his cannon of an arm. In 2016 the Padres decided to put him on the mound as a reliever. With a fastball that ran into the high 90’s, he showed promise in his new role. The team added him to the 40-man roster in November 2016 to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, but he still appeared to be a long way away from MLB service. A mid-season trade with Kansas City left the Padres pitching staff temporarily short-handed, so the team recalled Ruiz and his Lake Elsinore teammate Kyle Lloyd, presumably out of convenience since they were just a short drive up the 15. Ruiz made one appearance for the Padres, pitching a scoreless inning, registering a single walk and a single strikeout.
While Ruiz’s MLB record is brief yet clean, he struggled in advanced Single-A to a 5.98 ERA and 1.65 WHIP through 49.2 innings of work in 2017. Now he is off to the White Sox farm system, where he is on the MLB 40-man roster but will likely spend more time in the minors as they try to find the control he couldn’t harness with the Padres.