The White Sox bullpen is completely different than it was a year ago at this time. It is now filled with a bunch of young arms that have some decent upside. This is the way that a bullpen should be built. There is no need for multiple 7+ million dollar arms in the bullpen, unless they are an all star every year. That was not the case for most of the Sox bullpen pieces, and that is mainly why most of them are no longer on the team.
The only piece that proved to be worth the money was Liam Hendriks. He was a fantastic closer for the 2+ seasons he pitched for the Sox and he was one of the best closers in baseball over that stretch. The one position that you should pay for in the bullpen is closer, as that is the most important piece of the bullpen. The White Sox no longer have one of the most expensive bullpens, so they can potentially invest in a solid piece this off season.
If they do, they should look at Jordan Hicks. The former Cardinal and Blue Jay has some experience closing and has more saves in his career than everyone in the White Sox bullpen combined. If they want to remain competitive, they will need a closer to shut down games that need to be won.
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While Hicks has not been a closer his whole career, he has been pretty good in save opportunities, and it would be good for the bullpen to have a guy like him in the back end. He and Santos can both close games and they would form a dynamic, hard throwing duo at the back end of the ‘pen.
According to Baseball Savant, he is in the 100th percentile in fastball velocity, as he has a devastating 2-seam fastball that can reach up to 105 MPH. This is the type of stuff that the Sox could use in the back end of their bullpen.
Last year Hicks had a 3.29 ERA with 12 saves. In 65 innings, he had 81 strikeouts. Those are very good numbers. He wouldn’t break the bank for the Sox and could be a solid addition to their bullpen for a few years, as he is only 27 years old.
In terms of free agents, he is on the younger end and that is who the Sox should be targeting. They need to acquire as much talent under the age of 28 as they possibly can.
Hicks would slot in the bullpen with Santos and Crochet and form a solid trio for the foreseeable future. All of them would be 27 or younger, which is key for a team like the Sox.
The Sox don’t need to add much to the bullpen, but if they are looking to add anyone, Hicks should be their man. He should not be too expensive and he could bolster a group that is in need of proven commodities. If some of the wildcards work out in the Sox ‘pen, they could have a solid group.