White Sox agree to 2-year deal with free agent reliever Kelvin Herrera

The Chicago White Sox made another addition to fortify their bullpen on Monday afternoon. Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reports that the team and veteran relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera have agreed to a two-year deal worth $18-million. The deal also reportedly includes a third-year vesting option worth $9 million, per Bruce Levine of 670 The Score.

The White Sox made the deal official on Tuesday and released this official statement.

Herrera had been a member of the Kansas City Royals from 2011 until June of 2018 before being traded to the Washington Nationals. In Kansas City, the righty served as the team’s primary closer from 2016-early 2018 and was a key member on the 2015 World Series team. During the early portion of 2018, Herrera posted a 1.05 ERA with 14 saves and 22 strikeouts in just 25.2 innings of work.

After the trade to Washington, the now 29-year-old served in a set-up role before suffering a Lisfranc ligament tear in his left foot that saw his season end prematurely in August. Between the Royals and Nationals, Herrera finished 2018 with a combined 2.44 ERA, 1.195 WHIP, 38 strikeouts, 10 walks, and 17 saves in 44.1 innings pitched. In his eight-year career, he’s posted a 2.82 ERA, 60 saves, 10.1 WAR, and a 3.34 strikeout to walk ratio in 460.0 innings.

For the White Sox, this is solid signing to bolster the back end of the pen. While there are some concerns about his durability due to prior injuries, the upside and proven track record of Herrera is too good to pass up. The move also comes just a month and a day after the Omar Narvaez trade with the Mariners that brought reliever Alex Colome to the South Side.

Between Colome and Herrera, the White Sox have found a new closer and pitcher who can serve in a late inning or set-up role. It has become clear that in today’s game, the bullpen plays a vital part in a team’s ability to stay in games and the White Sox have addressed this need during the offseason. While the team will likely not compete in 2019, they have begun to transition into the next phase of the rebuild that involves bringing in proven talent to accompany the rising prospects with hopes of contending as early as 2020 or 2021.

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