The White Sox are in agreement with two-time former All-Star reliever Kelvin Herrera on a two-year, $18 million contract that contains a vesting option for a third year, per reports from ESPN’s Jeff Passan and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal on Monday afternoon:
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
Source confirms: #WhiteSox in agreement with free-agent RHP Kelvin Herrera on two-year, $18M contract. Vesting or club option for third year could bring total value to $27M. Pending completion of physical. First reported: @JeffPassan.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 7, 2019
Herrera, who just turned 29, has been up and down a bit over the past couple years, but when he’s right he can be one of the most dominant relievers in baseball. For his career, the two-time All-Star and 2015 World Series champion has a 2.82 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, 454 strikeouts, and 134 walks over 460 innings of relief, 441.1 of which have come with the Royals, who he played for until getting traded to the Nationals last June. He also has a 1.26 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP over 28.2 career postseason innings.
Herrera’s fastball velocity isn’t what it once was — his average velocity was around 97 MPH in 2018, compared to 99 during the height of the Royals’ dominance in the mid-2010s — but obviously he still found a way to be successful at points last season; he posted a 1.05 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP over 25.2 innings with Kansas City before being traded to Washington, where he threw for a 4.34 ERA and 1.71 WHIP over 18.2 frames.
Herrera is the second former All-Star closer the White Sox have added to their bullpen this offseason; he joins former Rays and Mariners right-hander Alex Colome, who was acquired in exchange for catcher Omar Narvaez back in November. With those two joining established veteran Nate Jones, the ChiSox should have one of the most imposing late-inning trios in baseball this season. Their rotation, which has only added Pirates retread Ivan Nova this offseason and posted a collective 5.07 ERA in 2018, is another matter, as is the portion of their bullpen that will be responsible for preserving leads and keeping games close in the middle innings.