White Sox Still Need to Address Lack of Bullpen Depth
White Sox like many other teams have been quiet thus far this offseason. The team still needs to address lack of bullpen depth for the 2018 season.
Much like the rest of MLB, the Chicago White Sox have been relatively quiet this offseason. Other than signing Welington Castillo and being involved in a trade rumor, the Sox haven’t made much noise during a slow offseason. However, the Sox still have needs they must address before the start of next season.
One area of need the Sox must address for 2018 is lack of bullpen depth. Currently, the Sox don’t have a true closer for next season and will need some veteran arms in their bullpen. Although Juan Minaya stepped up and took over the closer role this past season, he’s yet to be a closer for an entire major league season.
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Minaya recovered nine saves this past season for the Sox and compiled a 4.53 ERA in 40 games. The 27-year-old could start 2018 as the team’s closer, but it would be better if the Sox signed someone with more experience closing games. Minaya only had one blown save in 2017 for the Sox, but he shouldn’t be expected to be the closer over a full season in 2018. His lack of experience could hurt the Sox although they aren’t expected to contend next year.
The Sox will also need some middle relief and setup help in their bullpen for 2018. Despite Gregory Infante doing a solid job this past season, he also has a lack of experience pitching in relief in the major leagues.Infante pitched in just his second major league season in 2017 and was relatively solid for the Sox. In 52 games, Infante posted a 3.13 ERA with five holds. Much like Minaya, Infante doesn’t have experience pitching a full major league season.
If the Sox are going to have a solid bullpen in 2018, they will also need a relief pitcher with experience as a setup man. Nate Jones, who has served as the Sox setup man over the past few seasons, will be coming off another injury. Jones missed the entire 2017 season after requiring surgery in his right elbow. In 2014, Jones had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and his injury history could put his career with the Sox in jeopardy. Jones has an option for 2019-2021 but could pitch his final season in a Sox uniform in 2018.
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The Sox don’t need to sign any of the top-tier free agent relievers such as Wade Davis or Greg Holland, but they do need more experienced pitchers in their bullpen for 2018. Despite expectations of not contending in 2018, the Sox will still need an adequate bullpen for a relatively young team next season.