The Chicago White Sox have bolstered their bullpen this offseason with the additions of Kendall Graveman and Joe Kelly. On Saturday night, the White Sox agreed to sign Kelly to a two-year, $17 million deal, per Joel Sherman.
Kelly pitched the last three seasons with the Dodgers, posting a 3.59 ER, 1.23 WHIP in 105 1/3 inning. Prior to that, Kelly was with the Red Sox from 2014-18, winning a World Series in 2018. He would also win a second World Series championship with the Dodgers during the pandemic shortened season.
Graveman signed with the White Sox prior to the MLB lockout. The 31-year-old agreed to a three-year, $24 million pact. The right-hander was phenomenal in 2021 pitching for the Seattle Mariners and the Houston Astros. In 53 games last season, Graveman finished with a 1.77 ERA and 10 saves over 56 innings.
Joe Kelly and Kendall Graveman form an elite bullpen
Kelly and Graveman join a lethal duo of Craig Kimbrel and All-Star closer Liam Hendriks. Providing that the White Sox don’t trade Kimbrel, they will have a dominant foursome in their bullpen. However, Kimbrel wasn’t the reliever the White Sox thought they were getting from the Cubs.
Hendriks will look to build on his All-Star performance from last season. Leading up to the end of the lockout, Hendriks focused on preparing for the season.
“Everything I do, I train as hard as I possibly can,” Hendriks told Chicago Tribune in Mesa, Ariz., on Tuesday. “That way, if I’m doing this now, it will build up to the point where if I throw three, four, five days in a row once the season hits on, I’m able to take care of the business.”
The American League Reliever of the Year was the game’s best arm in the bullpen. He will have additional help around him to build on his 2021 season where he finished with 38 saves.
“Fuck! Shit! God damnit.”
Liam Hendriks is in mid season form pic.twitter.com/vakfiK7sbC
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) March 11, 2022
The White Sox bullpen on paper looks great, however the game isn’t played on paper. Graveman will help elevate the bullpen and could fill Kimbrel’s role if the White Sox look to deal him prior to the start of the season. Kelly replaces Ryan Tepera, who is still a free agent and was brilliant for Chicago.
The concerns with Kelly will be long-term health. He missed the playoffs last season with biceps strain but it doesn’t appear to be an issue for the start of the 2022 season. Hendriks benefits with having legitimate setup men in front of him. Graveman, Kelly, Aaron Bummer and Garrett Crochet round out the potential wagon bullpen.
“Everybody’s worried about the arms,” said manager Tony La Russa to The Athletic. “It’s going to be the story, I think, of at least the first couple months, until you really get stamina, and every organization’s depth is going to be is really going to be tapped.”
Chicago has depth and the potential to have one of the best bullpens in the majors.
– Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique on Twitter)
Feature image courtesy of Dodger Blue
Second image courtesy of Chicago Sun Times
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