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MLB Offseason Update: White Sox Sign Kelvin Herrera To Bolster Bullpen

Anthony Koon
94   //    08 Jan 2019, 08:07 IST

Kelvin Herrera, Baltimore Orioles v Washington Nationals
Kelvin Herrera, Baltimore Orioles v Washington Nationals

The White Sox were expected to make some big moves this offseason and after trading for one All-Star reliever in Alex Colome, they went out and landed another former All-Star bullpen arm in Kelvin Herrera.

By investing in their bullpen, the White Sox are hoping to show potential free agent targets, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, that they are in a position to take a massive leap forward this coming season.

Which Kelvin Herrera Are The White Sox Getting?

Herrera is far from the dominant reliever that was a stabilizing force for Royal's bullpen in their 2015 World Series run, but still provides an extremely competent back end of the bullpen arm. For as dominant as he once was, the past two seasons have seen some considerable inconsistency from Herrera.

After posting a career-worst 4.25 ERA in 2017, Herrera bounced back nicely to begin his 2018 campaign, posting just a 1.07 ERA across 27 outings for the Royals. Things skewed back towards the ugly when he was traded to the Nationals mid-season as he posted a 4.34 ERA across 21 outings the rest of the way for the Nationals.

While Herrera has been inconsistent in recent years, his start to last season indicates that he still has some gas left in the tank. Even considering that his average fastball velocity is down from 99mph during his heyday with the Royals to his current mark of 97mph, Herrera has proven that he can find a way to effectively get around hitters.

If Herrera can find consistent success once again, the White Sox will have found themselves a deadly bullpen weapon in the prime of his career on an affordable 2-year deal.

How Does This Help The White Sox?

Joining newcomers Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome is incumbent star reliever, Nate Jones. Jones is far from a household name, yet has proved himself time and time again to be one of the most reliable late-game arms in baseball across his seven-year stint in the majors. Should Herrera find his form again, the three-headed monster of Herrera, Colome, and Jones has the talent to go toe-to-toe with any bullpen that baseball has to offer.

More than just the bullpen, the White Sox are hoping that by showing a willingness to spend and actively improve their team, they can lure one of the big name free agents to the south side of Chicago. Machado has the first-hand experience knowing the importance of a strong bullpen during a playoff run.

A shaky bullpen was a major reason his Dodgers got bounced in the World Series. By investing in these key bullpen pieces, the White Sox are sending a message that they are gearing up to be playoff ready in the near future (something that both Machado and Harper have prioritized).