Despite already making two huge additions to the bullpen this offseason, the White Sox are still looking for more. According to Jon Heyman on Twitter, the White Sox are among five teams looking to sign more relief help. After trading for Alex Colome and signing Kelvin Herrera, the Sox had bolstered their pen quite a bit. The White Sox also have many pitching prospects that have the potential to be great relievers in the future. However, there is always room for improvement, so let’s take a look at the Sox bullpen again, and who is still on the market.
The White Sox Bullpen
According to the depth chart on the White Sox website, the pen currently consists of Carson Fulmer, Caleb Frare, Aaron Bummer, Jose Ruiz, Ian Hamilton, Ryan Burr, Thyago Vieira, Juan Minaya, Jace Fry, Kelvin Herrera, Nate Jones and Alex Colome.
Taking a look at that, the staples of the pen to start the season are likely to be: Jace Fry, Kelvin Herrera, Nate Jones with Alex Colome closing things out. That’s not bad at all, there should be reliable help from guys like Ian Hamilton, Ryan Burr, Thyago Vieira and Juan Minaya as well.
The guys “on the bubble” are likely Caleb Frare, Aaron Bummer and Carson Fulmer. Sure everything depends on how these guys do in spring training and to start the regular season either in the minors or majors, but if the White Sox are going to sign another pitcher one of them is likely to be the first one out.
Who’s On The Market
There are still some really good options left on the market, I would say my top 5 arms left out there are (in order): Craig Kimbrel, Tony Sipp, Ryan Madson, Adam Warren and Daniel Norris. Some other options out there are Brad Boxberger, Tyler Clippard and Jake Diekman.
If the Sox are going to look for another relief option they should go ahead and try to sign either Adam Warren or Ryan Madson to handle the mid-game situations, as the late game bullpen looks pretty solid right now.
Last year with the Yankees Adam Warren posted a 3-2 record with a 3.14 ERA with 52 strikeouts over 51.2 innings pitched. He also did really well in the 2017 ALCS.
Ryan Madson is a grizzled veteran that could provide the Sox with some good outings. Last season was one of the worst in his career, he had a 2-5 record with a 5.47 ERA over 52.2 innings pitched. Although this looks bad, Madson has had great success throughout his career, and 2018 could have just been a bad year, the Sox could also be able to pick him up relatively cheap considering last years performance.
Is It The Best Option Though?
So the White Sox are looking for more relief pitching, but is it really what they should be targeting? No. The back end of the bullpen looks really strong and there are a couple young guns waiting in the wings that look pretty good. The starting rotation really needs another look. With Michael Kopech needing Tommy John, the fifth spot in the starting rotation is up for grabs. Plus, the overall rotation is fairly weak.
Carlos Rodon is the ace, last season he definitely showed dominance but tailed off towards the end of the year. With him, another major question is always health. He’s been battling injuries since he first got called up to the majors.
Reynaldo Lopez is a solid option in the second spot. He pitched really well last season and got the least amount of run support. Lopez should look to consider developing his off-speed stuff and looks to be developing to his potential.
Ivan Nova in the third spot is nothing special. He will eat up innings and should be an upgrade over James Shields. He’s been around league average so don’t expect too much, but he should be fairly reliable.
Where Things Get Risky
In the fourth spot, things get dicey. Lucas Giolito will likely hold the fourth spot in the rotation. Last season was absolutely brutal for Giolito. In his first full major league season, he posted a 10-13 record with a 6.13 ERA over 173.1 innings pitched with 125 strikeouts. There have been concerns about Lucas’ ability since the White Sox acquired him, and he didn’t improve last season. The White Sox shouldn’t give up on him by any means, but he really needs to go out and improve from last year.
The fifth spot is still a question mark. The White Sox have a couple of fringe guys that could steal the spot with a good spring training like Jordan Stephens or Jordan Guerrero. Bernardo Flores has also been turning heads with his work in Double-A last season, so anything could happen.
Making another free agent signing for the rotation could help just in case one of the guys currently in the rotation really struggles. Dallas Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez and Wade Miley are some of the big names left on the market. If the Sox could ink a one or two year deal with one of them, they may be able to compete sooner than expected.
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