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White Sox add Herrera as late-inning option

Right-hander signs two-year, $18M deal with option for third year
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- An official White Sox closer for the 2019 season might not be named by manager Rick Renteria until near the end of Spring Training.

But with the official addition of free agent Kelvin Herrera, who agreed with the White Sox on a two-year, $18 million deal including a club option for 2021 as announced Tuesday, the White Sox have another strong late-inning option.

CHICAGO -- An official White Sox closer for the 2019 season might not be named by manager Rick Renteria until near the end of Spring Training.

But with the official addition of free agent Kelvin Herrera, who agreed with the White Sox on a two-year, $18 million deal including a club option for 2021 as announced Tuesday, the White Sox have another strong late-inning option.

"I'm just ready whenever the manager hands me the ball," said Herrera during a conference call. "Whatever they want me to do, I'll do it."

Under terms of the deal, Herrera will receive $8.5 million in 2019 and '20, while the White Sox hold a $10 million option for '21 with a $1 million buyout. Herrera, 29, combined to go 2-3 with a 2.44 ERA, 17 saves and 38 strikeouts over 48 relief appearances and 44 1/3 innings in '18 with Kansas City and Washington.

Video: NYM@WSH: Herrera gets double play to earn the save

Herrera recorded a 1.98 ERA with 14 saves over 38 games in the first half but was limited to 10 games after the All-Star break and didn't pitch after Aug. 26 due to a Lisfranc fracture in his left foot. His recovery seems to be on the right path, as Herrera mentioned he is already throwing and playing catch.

"I feel good. I feel strong enough to start Spring Training," Herrera said. "We're doing what they want me to do, but that's up to them. Right now, I'm very optimistic that I'm going to start Spring Training with no restrictions."

Herrera's top single-season total in saves came in 2017, when he recorded 26, but he also played a major role as a member of the airtight Royals bullpens in '14 and '15, with Kansas City appearing in the World Series in both seasons and winning it all in '15. As part of that Royals organization, Herrera was able to become a key cog in the team's rebuild as well as part of a dominant relief crew.

History could be repeating itself with the White Sox.

"This team is building a strong bullpen," said Herrera, who has a 1.50 ERA in 31 career appearances and 30 innings pitched at Guaranteed Rate Field, including a current streak of 10 2/3 scoreless over 11 outings. "I know how it feels when I was with KC; we had a very, very strong bullpen there. You can feel it. It's just a matter for us to perform and do our best. Just to be ready to do our job and just to have the position to help this team.

"When we started in KC, we were all young players with a lot of talent. I can see that here with the White Sox. This is an organization with a lot of young talent, a lot of guys that want to play good and be good players. I'm going to try just to help as much as possible in the development process for all those young players. That's something like what we accomplished in KC."

Video: Herrera agrees to deal with White Sox

The White Sox already added right-hander Alex Colome in a trade with Seattle earlier this offseason and picked up the $4.65 million option on Nate Jones, the longest-tenured player currently with the organization. This trio joins Jace Fry, Ian Hamilton and Juan Minaya, not to mention the possibility of Zack Burdi mid-season, as part of the late-inning, high-leverage crew, giving Renteria and White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper plenty of choices.

"Things here are going to be good," Herrera said. "I'm excited because I know how things can be good when you do things the right way. I think that's the case here with the White Sox."

Left-handed pitcher Ian Clarkin was designated for assignment to make room for Herrera. With the moves, the White Sox 40-man roster remains at 40.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Kelvin Herrera