After a disappointing season in 2018 plagued by pitching issues, the White Sox will look to improve their pen in 2019. Moving forward in the rebuild is especially important considering the setback of Michael Kopech’s injury. The White Sox have solid young talent in the pen such as Thyago Vieira and Jace Fry and more around the corner such as potential future closer Zack Burdi. With that being said, let’s look at some potential bullpen additions for the White Sox.
Potential Bullpen Additions For The White Sox
Joe Kelly is a 30-year-old right-hander that just finished his season with the Boston Red Sox. His start to the 2018 season was really strong, but he slipped a bit towards the end of the regular season. He finished the regular season with 65.2 innings pitched with 68 strikeouts, 32 walks, two saves and 4.39 ERA. Kelly had a really strong post-season, however, striking out 13 batters and allowing only one earned run in 11.1 innings pitched.
Kelly’s ERA is normally around four, but in 2017 he had the best season of his career, finishing with a 2.79 ERA. He has developed well as a player and should the White Sox be able to sign him, he would provide good relief out of the pen and be a fantastic mentor for the young arms in the White Sox bullpen. However, he may wish to remain in Boston considering their recent success.
Adam Ottavino is a 32-year-old righty with the Colorado Rockies. Ottavino is coming off the best season of his career and considering he’s pitched in Coors field for 7 of his 8 years in the league, his numbers are quite remarkable. In 2018 he finished with a 6-4 record with an ERA of 2.43, 102 strikeouts and only five home runs given up in 77.2 innings pitched. That is a career high in strikeouts and a career low for ERA.
Over his entire career, Ottavino holds a 17-20 record with a 3.68 ERA, 464 strikeouts and 17 saves. Adding Ottavino would provide the White Sox with a strong bullpen arm and his experience in the league battling back from injuries and game time experience should help the up and comers grow. Signing Adam Ottavino may be tough for the Sox, however, as he is coming off the best season of his career he will likely command a high price tag.
So we have looked at two right-handed potential bullpen additions for the White Sox, now let’s look at a lefty. Tony Sipp is currently 35 and has 10 years of major league pitching experience. He is coming off of a fantastic 2018 season. Sipp finished with a 3-1 record and a dominant 1.86 ERA with 42 strikeouts and only 13 walks over 38.2 innings pitched. He struggled a bit in 2016 and 2017, but he has been solid for a majority of his major league career.
His career numbers are a 25-20 record with a 3.67 ERA, 513 strikeouts, 212 walks and a total WAR of 5.0. He is a pretty consistent reliever that would add that extremely important left-handed reliever to the White Sox pen. His veteran presence would couple nicely with the Sox lefty Jace Fry for the 2019 season. Signing him may be tricky as he is coming off of a strong season and many teams are currently targeting Sipp.
How about an old friend? Right-handed pitcher David Robertson is also hitting the free agent market in 2019. However, Sox fans already know David as he pitched for the team in 2015 through the trade deadline in 2017. He is 33 years old and commands 11 years of experience in the league. He had a good season in 2018, finishing with an 8-3 record with a 3.23 ERA, 91 strikeouts and 26 walks. David would be one of the most experienced potential bullpen additions for the White Sox.
Robertson’s career numbers are pretty strong. He has a 53-32 record, 2.88 ERA, 874 strikeouts and 260 walks. Should the White Sox want to bring David back, they would likely need to bring him back in a closer role. This would bring debate as to how long they would want to sign Robertson for as the White Sox have a few young guns that need development but with Zack Burdi’s call-up seemingly right around the corner how long would the Sox want him to play the closer role? At the end of the day, however, David knows the White Sox, he knows Don Cooper and he knows how to succeed in the majors, so why not go for him?
So which potential bullpen additions for the White Sox would you like to see for next season?
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