Report: White Sox address bullpen need by signing Graveman to 3-year contract

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Seattle Mariners pitcher Kendall Graveman (49) pitches in the ninth inning against the Texas Rangers during a baseball game on Friday, May 7, 2021, in Arlington, Texas.

    Seattle Mariners pitcher Kendall Graveman (49) pitches in the ninth inning against the Texas Rangers during a baseball game on Friday, May 7, 2021, in Arlington, Texas.

 
 
Updated 11/23/2021 8:51 PM

Earlier this month, general manager Rick Hahn acknowledged there was work to be done in the White Sox's bullpen.

"Ryan Tepera is a free agent," Hahn said. "We envision Michael Kopech leaving the bullpen and joining the rotation. That creates at least two needs in the bullpen."

 

The Sox's GM declined to mention that Craig Kimbrel is likely going to be traded.

Acquired in a July deal with the Cubs that cost the White Sox second baseman Nick Madrigal and reliever Codi Heuer, Kimbrel struggled pitching the eighth inning instead of the ninth.

With a $16 million contract for next season, the White Sox are hoping to shed Kimbrel's salary and get a quality player back in a trade.

That would leave three needs in the bullpen, but the Sox addressed one Tuesday.

First reported by MLB Network's Jon Heyman, the White Sox have agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract with Kendall Graveman. The deal will become official when Graveman passes a physical.

The 30-year-old Graveman opened last season as Seattle's closer. He was 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA and 10 saves in 30 games before being traded to Houston on July 27.

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Unlike Kimbrel, Graveman was able to pitch effectively after being moved out of the closer's spot. In 23 games with the Astros, Graveman didn't get a save while going 1-1 with a 3.13 ERA.

Liam Hendriks is entrenched as the Sox's closer, so Graveman would likely stay in the setup role.

Much like Hendriks, Graveman struggled at the beginning of his major-league career. A starter for the Athletics from 2015-18, the right-hander was 23-29 with a 4.38 ERA before signing a free-agent contract with the Cubs.

Recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2019, Graveman never pitched for the Cubs.

He was a free agent again before the 2020 season and Graveman signed with Seattle, where he was moved to the bullpen and blossomed into a high-end reliever.

Helping the Astros get to the World Series last season, Graveman pitched 11 innings in the playoffs and allowed 2 runs on 7 hits to go with 4 walks and 11 strikeouts.

In 3 appearances against the White Sox in the American League Division Series, Graveman gave up 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks in 3 innings.

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