Chicago White Sox: Can Kip Wells Make It Back to Major Leagues?

Tom Firme@TFirmeAnalyst IIApril 13, 2012

12 Jul 2001:  Pitcher Kip Wells #32 of the Chicago White Sox throwing the ball during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the White Sox 5-1.Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Kip Wells' last outing in a Chicago White Sox uniform wasn't one to remember. On Oct. 7, 2001, the Minnesota Twins tagged Wells for six runs (four earned) on eight hits and four walks in 4.2 innings. Wells walked off with his 11th loss of the year. Few White Sox fans would have thought Kenny Williams would sign Wells back after trading him the following offseason.

Nevertheless, Williams did just that, giving Wells a minor-league contract, as Jon Heyman tweeted last Friday.

Writing for, Heyman elaborated, saying White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper liked how Wells pitched. Wells, who was the White Sox's first-round pick in 1998 and hasn't pitched in the majors since 2009, had thrown 93 to 94 mph in a workout for the New York Mets.

Wells told he wanted to come back with the White Sox of all places because he enjoyed pitching on the south side of Chicago from 1999 to 2001. In those three years, he went 20-21 with a 5.14 ERA. He allowed a walk at a rate of once every other inning. In 2001, Wells led the AL in wild pitches with 14.

Williams would ship him to the Pittsburgh Pirates with Sean Lowe and Josh Fogg in the infamous deal that brought in Todd Ritchie, along with a minor league player. Wells prospered for two years with the Pirates, posting a 3.58 ERA in 2002 and 3.28 ERA in 2003.

Then, Wells fell hard to the ground. His ERA ballooned by 1.27 in 2005. In 2006, he led the NL in losses (18) and walks (99). Since then, Wells hasn't pitched a full season with one team.

He's now played for eight teams, including spring training stints with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011 and Cincinnati Reds in 2010. Wells has a 67-99 career record to go with a 4.71 ERA across 1,301 innings.

Wells will play somewhere in the White Sox minor-league system, although it's unclear where he'll be.

White Sox fans may wonder if he'll surface with the major-league club at some point. Jake Peavy will likely get injured at some point, which would give the 34-year-old a chance to make another major-league start.

A few younger players will need to take starts, but perhaps the White Sox could let Wells toss a couple innings to start a game. It may not be a strong possibility, but it'd be nice for a guy who's been tossed around the last five years.

Williams just might give Wells a chance.