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Chicago White Sox: Revamped Bullpen Looks to Make Immediate Impact

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As we continue our previews of your 2015 Chicago White Sox, the next focal point of the roster is what will decide the difference in a lot of games this season: the bullpen.

I don’t need to tell you this because I am sure you saw it for yourself if you even only watched five total games all year, but the bullpen that the White Sox ran out there was ATROCIOUS.

A combined 4.38 ERA and 236 walks made for a rough year to watch and contributed to wasted efforts by the starting rotation. That was last year and as a new season dawns, we never have to speak of that horror again.

White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn knew he needed to address the glaring holes that appeared and did a fantastic job of shoring up the third worst bullpen in baseball.

Hawk affectionately likes to call Hahn “our MVP,” and with the moves he has made I could not agree more. Let’s take a more in-depth look into who Hahn acquired this offseason and what we can expect to see from our guys in the sixth-ninth innings this year.

Aug 14, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Zach Duke throws a pitch against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The first move the White Sox made in the offseason was signing lefty Zach Duke to a three-year/$15 million deal. Transitioning from a starter with the Pittsburgh Pirates to a reliever with the Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds, and Milwaukee Brewers, the 31-year old southpaw seems to have found his niche.

Thriving in Milwaukee with a phenomenal 5 -1 record with a 2.45 ERA and an outstanding .198 average against lefties in almost 59 innings of work, Duke adds a late inning shutdown left-hander the White Sox desperately needed last year and veteran experience the young relievers can learn from.

Hahn added a second lefty to the rotation in the form of 27-year old Dan Jennings in a trade from the Marlins. The more lefties we have the better.

Jennings comes off a year where he had a nearly flawless 1.34 ERA in 40 innings but looks to improve on his opponents’ against average total of .273. I see Jennings as a guy who can switch off with Duke in a situation where manager Robin Ventura likes to play lefty-lefty matchups in the seventh or eighth innings, or just to provide an inning or inning-plus of work in the mid innings of a game.

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No matter what capacity Ventura decides to utilize him in, this southpaw will be a welcome sight to a bullpen which featured Scott Downs or Eric Surkamp as their only left handed options last season.

Last but certainly not least there is David Robertson.

The 29-year old right hander is the first real closer this team has had since Bobby Jenks. Some critiqued signing a guy who usually only pitches one inning to a four-year/$46 million dollar deal and I had my own doubts also but this signing will pay immediate dividends.

After 21 blown saves and a paltry 63.16 save percentage and the years without a legitimate shutdown guy who can be relied on to get outs, Hahn managed to get one of the Top 5 closers to come to the Southside to keep wins in those crucial one-run and two-run games.

With these strong additions in additions to guys like Javy Guerra and Zach Putnam who showed some flashes last year, the White Sox are poised to have a big year, but only if their bullpen can bail them out when they need them the most.

What do you guys think? Who do you think will be the biggest factor in the bullpen this year? Let me hear your thoughts.

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