The Chicago White Sox have signed former Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera to a two-year, $18 million deal, according to reporter Ken Rosenthal. The deal has a vesting or club option for the third year that could bring the deal to a total of $27 million.
The 29-year old right-hander spent the first seven and a half seasons of his Major League career with the Royals, and was part of both pennant-winning clubs. He was a two-time All-Star in Kansas City with a 2.75 ERA and 57 saves before the club traded him last summer to the Washington Nationals for minor leaguers Blake Perkins, Kelvin Gutierrez, and Yohanse Morel. In his time with the Royals and Nationals last year, Herrera had a 2.44 ERA in 44 1/3 innings with 38 strikeouts and 17 saves.
The White Sox lost 100 games last year and were led in saves by former Royals pitcher Joakim Soria, who they dealt to Milwaukee in July. However they appear to be dedicated to accelerating their rebuild movement with aggressive moves, making a play for Bryce Harper and putting in a formal offer on Manny Machado.
The signing of Herrera follows the signing of Zack Britton to the Yankees and David Robertson to the Phillies last week, suggesting the market for relievers is starting to move quickly. The Twins are also rumored to be close to signing Blake Parker, a pitcher the Royals were said to have interest in. There are still a number of relief free agents available, although the Royals may wait for bargains closer to spring training, as they reportedly want to look for reclamation projects.
Last year, the Royals bullpen had the worst bullpen ERA in the American League at 5.04. Wily Peralta is the only current Royals pitcher on the 40-man roster with more than two career saves and Kevin McCarthy is the only Royals pitcher with at least 100 career MLB relief appearances.