Closer – Addison Reed: Needs to find his slider again. It was great! It was shiny and magnificent. Now where did he put it?…
RH Setup Man – Jesse Crain: Gets a lot of crap for someone who has put up a 2.54 ERA and stranded a slightly above-average percentage of inherited runners in two years on the South side.
LH Setup Man – Matt Thornton: Not sure how long this fair-to-middling production can last as his velocity dips and reliance on breaking stuff ramps up, but it’d be easier for him if he could be more specialized.
Middle Relief – Nate Jones: As Jim Margalus got into earlier, Jones by all means had a good 2012 where he performed better than what could have been expected, but neither showed the dominant slider nor good enough control to earn a promotion to a larger role.
LOOGY – Donnie Veal: What a LOOGY!
From here, two more right-handers are needed to fill out the pen area. The Sox certainly have numbers, with Brian Omogrosso, Nate’s boy Jhan Marinez, Deunte Heath or even Hector Santiago (who is obviously left-handed). Spring Training will open up even more possibilities.
That’s fine. But with Thornton fighting regression, Reed finding himself, Crain looking to brutally defy what logic says should happen when a flyball pitcher plays in a softball stadium for a third-straight year, and Nate Jones, it might be best to have another above-average arm to move around in the very likely scenario that one of the top-4 is not up to the requirements of their prescribed role.
That was the logic of the Brett Myers acquisition, and just because picking up Brett Myers’ option would have been crazy doesn’t mean the need has been removed. Just like the backup catcher slot discussed on Sunday, a bullpen is a fine area to trim the financial fat, but the Sox lack notable impact relief prospects that can help in 2013, and can find affordable help in early January, now that markets have cooled.
Vaguely capable arms Matt Lindstrom, Brandon Lyon, Scott Atchison, and even Franciso Rodriguez is milling about. I’d suggest crazier reclamation projects like Jose Contreras and Bobby Jenks if it could be confirmed that either was physically capable of standing up and throwing a pitch, which should indicate how welcome a veteran flier would be.
Crowing for bullpen help is an easy route to madness, as is checking every day to see if the White Sox will do anything during this off-season. But so little investment and interest is needed to shore up what has been an openly stated goal, that something just has to happen soon.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan