One of the top free agent relievers is off of the market. According to a report, Kelvin Herrera has agreed to terms with the Chicago White Sox.
Per Jeff Passan of ESPN, Herrera and the White Sox came to terms on a two-year deal with an option for the third.
Reliever Kelvin Herrera and the Chicago White Sox are in agreement on a two-year, $18 million deal with a vesting third-year option, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 7, 2019
This is big for two reasons.
One, Herrera is a solid reliever that would have worked well in plenty of places. In 2018, he posted 17 saves with a 2.44 ERA and 1.20 WHIP for the Kansas City Royals and Washington Nationals.
The Chicago bullpen needed some retooling this offseason. Herrera is a big step towards that. He’ll slot in somewhere in the back of the bullpen, possibly even in the closer’s role.
Two, while he’s only 29, Herrera isn’t someone a 100-loss team like the White Sox would typically sign unless it really saw itself contending in short order. Contending in 2019 will only happen if the roster is upgraded in a big way.
As talented as Chicago’s farm system is, that alone won’t do it. The White Sox committing to Herrera doesn’t necessarily mean that Manny Machado and/or Bryce Harper will be headed to Chicago (as has been speculated).
But we’d absolutely take it as a pretty good sign that the Sox have real designs on going for at least one of them.
At the very least, Herrera’s signing gives us reason to expect more activity from the South Side.