White Sox sign Graveman to 3-year, $24 million contract
With Michael Kopech heading to the starting rotation, Craig Kimbrel on the trade block and Ryan Tepera a free agent, the White Sox have obvious needs in the bullpen.
They addressed the issue Tuesday, officially signing Kendall Graveman to a three-year, $24 million contract.
"Kendall is a veteran who provides us with end-of-game bullpen depth and an ability to induce groundballs," Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. "He's a high character guy and a great teammate who will fit well within our clubhouse and bullpen."
The White Sox also reportedly signed Leury Garcia to a three-year deal.
The versatile Garcia has been with the Sox since 2013. Last season, he hit .267/.335/.376 with 5 home runs and 54 RBI over 126 games while playing all three outfield spots along with second base, third and shortstop.
Graveman was a combined 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA and 10 saves in 53 games with the Mariners and Astros last season. The 30-year-old righty also had 11 holds and 61 strikeouts in 56 innings.
In 30 appearances with Seattle, Graveman was 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA and 10 saves. Traded to the Astros on July 27, he was 1-1 with a 3.13 ERA and 7 holds in 23 games with Houston.
Graveman was the Mariners' closer and was able to make a smooth transition to a setup role with the Astros.
Acquired from the Cubs in a trade that cost the White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal and reliever Codi Heuer last July, Kimbrel was not effective pitching in the eighth inning in front of all-star closer Liam Hendriks.
Graveman is up for the challenge.
"(Hendriks) has proven he's the best reliever in baseball and he's got numbers and years of experience to back it up," Graveman said. "I told them (White Sox) whenever they see fit for me before the ninth inning is when I'll be available to pitch. The conversation was help bridge the gap to get to Liam."
Graveman pitched in 3 games against the White Sox in the playoffs and allowed 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks in 3 innings.
He helped the Astros advance to the World Series and is now focused on getting the Sox to the same place. Houston won the best-of-five American League Division Series vs. the Sox 3-1.
"I wasn't in the locker room but I know the guys in the White Sox locker room, there's no way they didn't gain experience through that process and then being able to take it forward into next season and beyond because I know I did," Graveman said. "I know that the leadership on this team, just watching it from the outside, there are a few leaders that are going to make sure moving forward that they're a different team going into the postseason."
Selected by the Blue Jays in the eighth round of the 2013 draft out of Mississippi State, Graveman is a career 29-33 with a 4.15 ERA in 147 games with Toronto, Oakland, Seattle and Houston.
He was a starter his first five seasons before moving to the bullpen with the Mariners in 2020.
"He is a really good pitcher and adding him to our team, it was a good move for the front office," Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez said. "Last year, you can see, he had really good numbers and he's been pitching good. Having him for the bullpen is another good thing to happen to us."