White Sox build bullpen around young arms

Avilan, Minaya among late-inning options for 2018 season

January 9th, 2018

CHICAGO -- White Sox general manager Rick Hahn mentioned the bullpen on numerous occasions when he was asked about organizational offseason targets for change.

That same bullpen took quite a hit in 2017 as part of the club's rebuild, with trades of , Tommy Kahnle, , Dan Jennings and , and season-ending surgeries for Nate Jones, Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam. Hahn returns a younger core having a chance to pitch in late-inning situations in '18, and he has begun to rebuild the relief crew via a three-team trade bringing and to the White Sox.

Young arms developing in White Sox rotation

MLB.com is taking a look at the projected bullpen of all 30 teams ahead of Spring Training. Here's how the White Sox might stack up:

BULLPEN IF SEASON STARTED TODAY

Joakim Soria, Closer, RHP

Nate Jones, RHP

, RHP

Danny Farquhar, RHP

Luis Avilan, LHP

Gregory Infante, RHP

, LHP

, LHP

STRENGTH

Manager Rick Renteria might not have a clear-cut closer, but Hahn has given him a number of high-leverage, late-inning options in Jones, Soria, Minaya and Infante, as well as Avilan from the left side. The White Sox also acquired hard-throwing , who could be a sleeper relief candidate to break camp with the team.

QUESTION MARK

Jones underwent nerve repositioning surgery on his right elbow in mid-July, and he missed the rest of the 2017 season after making only 11 appearances. Jones has been throwing the ball as part of his rehab and he could ramp things up soon. Jones is fully expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training and the start of the '18 regular season, but the full health of the right-hander with a career 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings becomes an important part of the team's bullpen.

Abreu, Avi anchor White Sox projected lineup

WHAT MIGHT CHANGE

Non-roster invite Anthony Swarzak probably doesn't leave Arizona with the White Sox in '17 if not for a late Spring Training injury sustained by Minaya, and Swarzak ended up becoming one of the team's most valuable pitchers. Although the non-roster invites for '18 have not yet been announced by the White Sox, they might feature another pitcher of Swarzak's caliber and situation who could make a March difference. The club has three options in terms of left-handed relievers between Avilan, Bummer and Fry, with two figuring to make the team. The bullpen appears to be relatively set at this point, but has a spot or two for potential change.