Reliever Alex Colome

Joe Nicholson/USA Today Sports

2019 Preview: White Sox Bullpen

After several years of dealing, will the White Sox boast bullpen continuity?

Chris Emma
February 08, 2019 - 9:26 am

(670 The Score) With pitchers and catchers set to report to spring training next week, we're breaking down the White Sox's roster as they enter the new season. Today, we continue with a look at the team's bullpen. 

Who's back?

The White Sox welcome back Nate Jones, Juan Minaya, Jace Fry, Aaron Bummer and Thyago Vieira, who will all be vying for key bullpen roles. 

Jones is seeking a season of good health, having pitched only one injury-free season since 2013. He had a 3.00 ERA in 33 appearances last year. Minaya had a quality season, posting a 3.28 ERA in 52 appearances. Fry led the team with 59 appearances, over which he had a 4.38 ERA. Fry and Bummer served as the key left-handed options for manager Rick Renteria.

Rookies Ryan Burr and Ian Hamilton will have the chance to earn a job in spring training. It's possible they could end up fighting for the final bullpen spot.

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Who's new?

Looking to bolster their bullpen, the White Sox acquired reliever Alex Colome from the Mariners in a December trade, sending catcher Omar Narvaez back in return to Seattle.

Colome, 30, gives the White Sox a legitimate late-game option. He had a 3.04 ERA and 12 saves in time split between Tampa Bay and Seattle in 2018. Should the White Sox opt to sell off parts again before the deadline, Colome could again be on the move, but until then, they'll look for him to provide stability for a developing team.

The White Sox also signed reliever Kelvin Herrera to a two-year, $18-million deal this offseason, adding another established arm for high-leverage situations. Herrera, 29 has a career 2.82 ERA and posted a 2.44 ERA with Kansas City and Washington last season. He also has 60 career saves.

It remains to be seen whether the White Sox will declare Colome or Herrera as the designated closer or split that duty between the two.

2019 outlook

A front office's investment or lack thereof in a bullpen is a telltale sign of whether it values competing at the highest level at any given moment in time.

In the past two seasons, the White Sox have sold their quality relievers at the trade deadline and stockpiled prospects in return. Perhaps that approach will change as the White Sox look to take the next step in 2019, the third season of their rebuild. The additions of Colome and Herrera will help the White Sox lock down more games so long as they remain in Chicago.

The White Sox used 25 relievers in 2018. Their hope is for that number to be lower this season, which would be a sign of more consistency in the bullpen. On paper, the White Sox have a mix of young options and veteran staples.

It's those proven relievers who will allow Renteria to feel more comfortable in signaling to the bullpen this season.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​