Chicago White Sox beef up bullpen in three-way trade

After trading closer David Robertson, Anthony Swarzak, Tommy Kahnle, Dan Jennings and Tyler Clippard last season, and after non-tendering injury prone Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, the Chicago White Sox's bullpen was decimated.

General manager Rick Hahn addressed the issue in November, acquiring Thyago Vieira in a trade from the Mariners.

Still in need of tested relief help, the Sox added right-hander Joakim Soria and left-hander Luis Avilan on Thursday in a three-team trade with the Royals and Dodgers.

"We feel we've added some veteran options for the back end of the bullpen," Hahn said Thursday night. "Both have experience pitching later in games. It gives (manager) Ricky (Renteria) and Coop (pitching coach Don Cooper) and the coaches some versatility in how they deploy the baseball.

"It obviously provides us with some veteran depth which allows us to protect and pace the development of some of our young players and provides us with some flexibility options over the course of the summer as things unfold."

Los Angeles acquired Soria and left-hander Scott Alexander from Kansas City in return for infielder Erick Mejia and right-hander Trevor Oaks. Los Angeles sent Soria, Avilan and cash considerations to the White Sox for minor-league infielder Jake Peter.

Avilan, 28, spent the entire 2017 season with the Dodgers, going 2-3 with a 2.93 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 46 innings.

Soria, 33, was 4-3 with a 3.70 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 56 innings with the Royals last season.

A two-time all-star, Soria is tied for sixth among active relief pitchers with 204 saves. The veteran right-hander could emerge as the Sox's closer this season.

"He might," Hahn said. "We are expecting Nate (Jones) to be back healthy as well. Obviously, Juan Minaya did a nice job in the limited opportunities he got to close.

"Any time you can add more additional late-inning options, guys who are used to pitching in high-leverage situations, it can only make the choices that the manager has stronger and make his job a little bit easier over the course of the summer."

Peter, 24, batted .279 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI in 120 combined games with Class AA Birmingham and AAA Charlotte last season.

A natural second baseman. Peter's path with the White Sox was blocked by Yoan Moncada.

"We feel Yoan is going to be a stalwart at second base for the foreseeable future, which is Jake's best position," Hahn said. "Given that we have similar such players at the big-league level and coming along behind Jake, it made it a little easier to part with someone we weren't by any stretch looking to move but was important to this deal."

The Sox reportedly are getting $2 million from the Dodgers and $1 million from the Royals. Soria has a $9 million contract this season, and Avilan, eligible for salary arbitration, is expected to carry a $3 million salary.

Having traded most of their veterans, the White Sox have plenty of payroll room to add the two new relief pitchers.

"Having some payroll flexibility while other clubs are looking to create it, I think allowed us to perhaps minimize the amount of players that we had to give up in this deal," Hahn said.

"We still were able to receive some cash as part of the exchange, which obviously fits in sort of with our need to have the proper value on the players we are acquiring and not just simply absorb payroll for the sake of payroll."

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