While going from Seattle to Chicago might’ve been a step down in win totals, Alex Colome looked forward to the idea of regaining the closer role for himself.
With Kelvin Herrera in the fold, he might have to share it.
Jeff Passan broke the news, reporting that the White Sox signed Herrera to a two-year, $18 million deal with a vesting third-year option. Ken Rosenthal added that the 2021 option pushes the total value of the deal to $27 million if fulfilled. The agreement is pending a physical.
It’s a decent price for the 29-year-old, who was signed by the Royals out of the Dominican Republic, and developed into a linchpin of the bullpen that keyed Kansas City’s ascent to a world title. He spent the first six seasons with the Royals, but a seventh was cut short by a trade to Washington.
Said seventh season was also ultimately abbreviated by a torn Lisfranc ligament in his left foot, which he suffered on Aug. 25:
When healthy, Herrera is effective, if slightly homer-prone. His fastball has lost a tick and a half from its 98 mph peak during the Royals’ heyday, but he throws both a slider and a changeup to maintain even splits against righties and lefties, and it gives him a chance of making any decline a gradual one.
The investment, significant yet modest relative to his peak, reflects an acknowledgment of at least some reduction in his stuff. Then again, the White Sox acquired a former Kansas City closer with similar question marks last winter, and Joakim Soria turned out to be a terrific addition.
As for any bigger picture, I’d guess this takes the White Sox out of the running for Adam Ottavino, and presents a slightly more compelling roster to free agents at other positions. The fastest way to beat projections is with an incredible bullpen performance. The White Sox aren’t selling out for that outcome, but with Colome and Herrera around for late-inning credibility and guys like Ian Hamilton potentially offering greater upside, they’re making it a little more feasible.