The 2021 White Sox are at this point almost a guarantee to make the playoffs in 2021 and for the first time ever in consecutive years. On paper, this year’s squad is probably the most talented of all time, including 2005. Still though, a team with World Series aspirations will always look to improve at the trade deadline, and the 2021 White Sox will be no different. The bullpen, second base, and right field are all areas in which the team could improve. In this article, we’re going to focus on the bullpen. So who are some names Rick Hahn is probably looking over?
It is more clear than ever that the team needs another high-leverage reliever, preferably of the right-handed variety. Luckily there are a handful of great options out there.
Kimbrel would obviously cost the most in terms of prospect capital, but looking at his numbers, he’d be well worth it. his 0.51 ERA and 15.54 K/9 are both elite in every sense of the word. Liam Hendriks has been wonderful as the Sox closer, but he has been very outspoken in saying that he can and wants to pitch as much as possible. In this scenario, the team could deploy Michael Kopech in the 7th, Liam Hendriks in the 8th, and Craig Kimbrel in the 9th. Opposing lineups would have almost no chance of scoring against that three-headed monster. And if a Sox starter can’t give the team 6 innings, then Kopech and/or Hendriks could also be used in a multi-inning relief effort. Other relievers such as Garrett Crochet, Aaron Bummer, and Codi Heuer are options as well to help get the team to the 7th.
Kennedy won’t cost nearly as much as Kimbrel would in a trade, but he’d be a very nice addition to the middle of the pen. the 36-year-old Texas Ranger has a 2.59 ERA and has experience in high-leverage, having saved 15 games this year. What really stands out is his 92.6% left on-base percentage. That would play anywhere as he would really help get the White Sox out of jams in the later innings.
Iglesias is a reliever that is sort of an in-between to Kennedy and Kimbrel. His K/9 is sitting at a career-high 13.82. His ERA is 3.40 but his xERA is only 2.38. He issues walks at a lesser rate than Kennedy, but his left on-base percentage isn’t as good at 75.8%. At the end of the day though, he’d be a valuable asset to the Sox bullpen. Like the aforementioned relievers, he has experience in high-leverage situations, shutting the door with 19 saves in 2021.
Options Are Available
Right here we have three relievers that will probably be dealt before the July 31st trade deadline. All 3 would upgrade the bullpen, and everyone knows that pitching wins in October. Aside from Kimbrel, relievers shouldn’t cost too much in a trade. Bullpen probably won’t be the only thing that will be upgraded by then, as second base and right-field are still holes that need to be filled. But when it comes down to it, the bullpen may be the team’s biggest weakness. Too many times have the White Sox squandered leads in the last 3rd of the game. Upgrade the bullpen, then worry about other holes. The Sox should make at least 2 trades, and you can bet that the bullpen will be one of them.