White Sox bullpen was decimated by trades in July, August but two journeymen relievers were able to provide solid appearances in final two months of season.
After the Chicago White Sox traded away valuable pitchers from their bullpen in July and August, the team would soon have to rely on unproven relievers to finish the season. Although there were some rough patches initially, the Sox were able to find a solid option of relievers to complete the 2017 campaign.
Juan Minaya and Gregory Infante both helped stabilize the Sox bullpen in the final two months of the 2017 season. Each reliever were both journeyman pitchers as they’ve appeared in more minor league games than in the majors. This year however, Infante turned into a solid eighth inning option for the Sox while Minaya ended this season with nine saves.
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The Sox traded David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Dan Jennings and later Tyler Clippard from their bullpen in July and August. Robertson, Kahnle and Todd Frazier were traded to the New York Yankees for Clippard and three minor league prospects in Blake Rutherford, Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo on July 18. The Sox would then trade Clippard on Aug. 13 to the Houston Astros for $1 million in cash.
After the Sox traded Clippard, they were without a true closer in the bullpen. There wasn’t a single reliever who had recorded a save in the majors at this point. As the Sox went through many relievers to try to find a closer, Minaya was able to record his first MLB save on Aug. 20 against the Texas Rangers. Minaya who first appeared in the majors in 2016 with the Sox had been playing professional baseball since 2009.
The 25-year-old made his major league debut on Sept. 1, 2016 with the Sox against the Minnesota Twins. After playing in the minors since 2009 and also playing winter ball in the Domincan Winter League, Minaya was able to have a solid final two months of the 2017 season. Along with recording his first major league save, Minaya ended 2017 by posting six consecutive saves.
Although the Sox bullpen was decimated towards the end of the season, Minaya proved to be a bright spot in the final months. Minaya recorded six saves in September with a 1-0 record and 4.00 ERA. However, he wasn’t the only bright spot in the Sox bullpen. Infante, who has also been a journeyman throughout his career became a reliable setup option for the Sox.
Infante debuted in the majors with the Sox back in 2010. However, he hadn’t appeared in a MLB game since 2010. The 30-year-old pitcher started his professional career in 2006 and played 12 seasons in the minors. Infante also played eight seasons in the Venezuelan Winter League. He was able to post two holds and a 1.98 ERA for the Sox this past August in 13.2 innings pitched. Infante recorded three holds in September to go along with a 1.42 ERA in 12.2 innings pitched.
Both Minaya and Infante could be brought back to pitch in relief for the Sox next season, but they will most likely need to have strong outings in Spring Training next year. With the Sox rebuild entering its second season in 2018, there won’t be a lot of pressure on either pitcher to perform at elite levels. But they will be expected to provide stability to the bullpen similar to what they were able to do to end the 2017 season.