3 changes we'd make to the 2023 Chicago White Sox before it's too late
By Eric Treuden
Reynaldo López needs to be removed from the closer's role immediately.
With essentially every option to be the club's closer currently on the injured list (Crochet, Foster, Hendriks, Kelly), the White Sox have been forced to use starter-turned-reliever Reynaldo López there to start the year.
After beginning his big league career as a starting pitcher, López put up two consecutive dreadful seasons (2019 and 2020) before the White Sox began to seriously consider him as more of a relief pitcher. Sure enough, he made 11 relief appearances against nine starts in 2021 and then 60 relief appearances last year.
In 2022, he looked better than he ever had before. Functioning as a middle-relief option who can go multiple innings if need be, López had a 2.76 ERA and 146 ERA+ in 65.1 innings. Notably, he allowed just one home run all year.
Through eight appearances in 2023, he has been lit up like a Christmas tree and should be taken out of the closer's role immediately. In 7.1 innings, the 29-year-old has allowed six earned runs on nine hits while walking five batters and surrendering a pair of home runs.
He has struck out 12 batters already, which is highly encouraging to see, but overall he has been having a hard time.
López is one of the longest-tenured pitchers on the staff, which does mean something, but when you struggle as badly as he has to start a season, something needs to be done.