The Chicago White Sox realize they made a mistake last year by bringing in an established, sure-fire closer to set up the closer they already had. Two closers is sometimes too many.
BUT THREE CLOSERS IS PERFECT!
White Sox said closing in on a deal for Kendall Graveman. $24M for 3 years range.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 23, 2021
Graveman to Craig Kimbrel to Liam Hendriks would be one of those on-paper dream 7th-8th-9th situations, but in all seriousness, we saw last season that it doesn’t always work out like that in practice. I still think the White Sox wind up trading Kimbrel, and in the interest of having a top arm to set up Hendriks, Graveman could make plenty of sense. While he did some closing last year, you wouldn’t call him an established closer in the same way the other two are. Plus, he is signing with the White Sox rather than being traded into a situation he didn’t choose. He knows what he’s coming in to do.
As for the price tag, it’s another really strong AAV for a reliever with only a short track record of top-tier success. These deals historically have disappointed. Doesn’t mean this one will, but the transient nature of reliever success tells us time and again that short of being a long-time, elite guy, there are going to be season-long blips. And when that happens on a deal like this, it can really sink the value quickly.
I wonder if this means the Sox are already confident they know the market for Kimbrel in a trade. Otherwise, even setting aside the comfort of the three relievers, that’s a crapload of money to have locked into three relievers.