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Ex-Yankees prospect Ian Clarkin bounces between White Sox, Cubs

Maybe the free-agent freeze we’re witnessing is because everyone is so focused on Ian Clarkin.

The former first-round Yankees draft pick has ricocheted between the Cubs and White Sox all offseason like a strange game of Chicago catch.

Let’s start from the top. The left-hander finished the 2018 season as a member of the White Sox, but was passed to the Cubs on waivers in November. The Cubs, too, then put him on waivers in hopes that no one would claim him, so they could keep him but not use a roster spot on the 23-year-old. This did not work because the White Sox claimed him right back.

Clarkin was able to comfortably take up residence, perhaps invest in real estate on the South Side for a whole six weeks before going through this game of hot potato again.

On Jan. 8, the White Sox designated Clarkin for assignment, having to make space on the roster for the recently signed Kelvin Herrera. Of course he would not be unemployed for long, and Wednesday the Cubs, for a second time this offseason, claimed the left-hander off waivers from the White Sox. Now we wait to see if the Cubs try to sneak him through waivers again.

Clarkin is a fringe roster member because of his talent and because of his untapped talent. He was the 33rd-overall pick in the 2013 draft out of high school, but injuries kept setting him back as he rose through the Yankees’ system. He was finally putting it all together in 2017, when he pitched to a 2.62 ERA in 14 games started in High-A Tampa, when the Yankees cashed in on his high value and included him in the trade that brought David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Todd Frazier to the Bronx.

He reached Double-A with the White Sox but struggled, finishing with a 4.98 ERA at the level in 18 appearances last season.

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