Following up: Kendall Graveman and Joe Kelly can’t make the plan work

The last two times the White Sox climbed over .500 were the last two times that the White Sox used Joe Kelly, Kendall Graveman and Liam Hendriks in successive order.

Those games came two months apart.

The one on May 25 didn’t work as planned — Graveman had to finish Aaron Bummer’s seventh, and Hendriks had to finish Kelly’s eighth because Kelly pulled his hamstring while recording the second out of the inning. Hendriks then finished the four-out save and the White Sox improved to 22-21, only to spend the following two months bumping their heads against the break-even mark.

The White Sox got back over .500 with the same game plan on Tuesday, with Hendriks being the one to stumble. He gave up a leadoff homer that halved the lead, then labored to record three outs, but the combination still got the job done.

Then Tony La Russa tried to use Kelly and Graveman on consecutive days in the back half of the two-game set at Coors Field, and the wheels came off. Kelly departed early because the nerve issue in his bicep resurfaced and he lost feeling in his fingers. He said after the game that they were able to restore sensation and it shouldn’t result in any missed time, but it’s evidence as to why the Kelly wasn’t allowed to pitch on back-to-back days until this month.

The White Sox had also shielded Graveman from such situations whenever possible, not because of a specific health reason, but because he doesn’t seem to be good at it. Half the runs and nearly half the walks he’s allowed all season have come on his second consecutive day of pitching:

No rest109.1119/78156.75

I’ve already written a couple times this season about the way Rick Hahn directed his boat toward the waterfall of diminishing returns from overinvesting in the bullpen, so I’m wary of belaboring the point. (That’s a lie — belaboring is one of my favorite hobbies, followed by relitigating.)

But I’m also raising the topic because I don’t particularly care to see Rick Hahn try to throw more resources at the money pit of imported high-leverage solutions by winning a bidding war for somebody like David Robertson. Hendriks, Graveman, Kelly $28 million this season, and each one was supposed to provide a layer of insurance for the one who came before. Instead, the bullpen still isn’t stable, and I don’t see $35 million or whatever solving what $28 million couldn’t.

I’m not opposed to Hahn adding a reliever, but I’d rather see it be along the acquisition cost of a Ryan Tepera instead of a Craig Kimbrel. Based on last year’s results, it sounds like I’m saying “Hahn should get a cheap reliever who overachieves,” and sure, but it’s more that I’d support Hahn adding a credible medium-leverage guy for an unremarkable prospect, and hope that the natural volatility of bullpens swings in his favor, because trying to build a team backward has left too much to chance. Whatever real resources the White Sox have should be directed toward the players who pad margins over the first six innings, because that’s probably the best way to prevent overusage of the Hendrikses, Kellies and Gravemen from here on out.

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Yes, absolutely. Another point in your favor: Jimmy Lambert and Reynaldo Lopez are among this team’s best relievers right now. What should this tell us? Stop spending big on relievers (plural, one is fine): just toss something on the stoop and see what the cat licks up.


Lambert is strongly outperforming his FIP right now, though. Reynaldo is actually strongly *under*performing his FIP tho, he’s been one of the best relievers in baseball by fWAR


Yeah but relievers are so volatile and it’s so much small sample size luck. Roll with the hot hand and, heck, the one who’s throwing strikes. I will Graveman gave himself an opportunity to outperform his FIP yesterday.


They did this a few years back to disastrous results. Remember McDougal closer? I think it was in those days.

I’d argue for the middle ground between the two extremes.


Yeah, like I said: one is fine. I liked then, and still like, the Hendriks signing. But the others are overkill. And like Greg posted below, this org has plenty of examples of success off the trash heap.


Jim: I think I speak for many of us when I say “thanks for your tireless efforts to belabor and relitigate!”

Last edited 12 days ago by soxygen

A plan has to be well thought out and sensible to work. A ridiculous overpay for an already injured reliever is not part of any “plan”. It’s just predictably pointless, self destructive, and stupid.


We must have Joe Kelly as he is a captain of attitude




I agree with the sentiment, though I would put it a little differently.

A plan has to be well thought out and sensible before I will give anyone credit for the plan if it works.

It could be poorly thought out and insensible and still work, but that could be called dumb luck.

It could be well thought out and sensible and not work, in which case “thems the breaks.”

If it isn’t well thought out or sensible, and then it fails…then whoever came up with the plan needs to be held accountable.

But yes to the rest! And for the record, we’re in the last category…So, for accountability’s sake, whoever came up with this poorly thought out and insensible plan should not be given an opportunity to develop another one.

Last edited 12 days ago by soxygen

So, for accountability’s sake, I don’t think that whoever came up with this poorly thought out and insensible plan should be given an opportunity to develop another one.

There, Jerry fixed that for you.

Last edited 12 days ago by upnorthsox

It doesn’t sound like we are in disagreement, but I will have to decipher your post with my therapist to make sure!

I recall when they traded Carlos Lee to the Brewers in what appeared a salary dump, for Pods and some reliever. I was pissed! Genius, or dumb luck? I’ll even take some dumb luck right now.

Last edited 12 days ago by jhomeslice

There’s something really funny about giving up decent players for a reliever last year, watching it fail spectacularly, and then deciding to try the same thing this year.


Any word on Lopez’s health?


Matt Moore


Sox and Yankees pursuing old and dear buddy Jose Quintana, who is easily the guy I missed the most from the big rebuild trades


So we lose Benetti? White Sox 2022, This sucks.




I’ve seen nothing saying he was staying with the Sox.


“It’s clear that Benetti’s ESPN work is going away following this deal. And Marchand reported that his Peacock work is only for this year too, but he will stay as the White Sox voice for next season and beyond. It will be interesting to see how Benetti fits in at Fox, and what they have him calling beyond college football.”


A sigh of relief. He’s really good and should have the lead Sox job right up to the moment when he says, “Back in my time zone…” on air.


Shudder. I had forgotten how Hawk used “time zone”, which is a different thing, when he meant, “era.” That drove me crazy in the later years.


That makes me feel a bit better. Would rather hear it coming out of his own mouth but I’ll take it.


As Cirensica

Please do not scared the crap out of me like this…I almost had a heart attack here. I thought he passed on or something.


Our play by play guy going on the IL…that would be the ultimate White Sox 2022 moment.

Greg Nix

It remains astounding that the org who won with Bobby Jenks, Cliff Politte and Neal Cotts continues to treat high-priced bullpen pickups like their main priority.


Also turned a shortstop into a closer


I don’t mind them locking down a lockdown closer, but the rest of the BP should be openly competing for their spots every year with plenty of competition.


On the bright side, Robert is starting a rehab assignment with Charlotte.


Oh, that’s great news. I was extremely worried about whatever was wrong with him, given his symptoms. I hope whatever it was has a clear resolution and isn’t going to pop up again.

Last edited 12 days ago by Foulkelore

Yeah, that sounded way too weird. Assuming the symptoms are completely gone, he shouldn’t need more than a game of rehab. He hasn’t been out very long, and either the symptoms are gone and stay gone, or they’re not. Hopefully he is good to go.


That sucks. Reynaldo has become one of my favorite guys on this roster to root for. I’m not sure that I could explain that if pressed, but there it is.


no i agree, he’s persevered through several years of struggles now, it’s good to see him succeed


naquin to mets, benintendi to yanks. lefty corner OF market is drying up. pederson and conforto remain

Joliet Orange Sox

Here’s the MLBTR story on the Naquin deal.

Right now if you click on the link for Hector Rodriguez (one of the players the Reds are getting) in the story, it takes you to the Baseball Reference page of Héctor Rodríguez who was a Cuban third-baseman who played for the White Sox in 1952 and died in 2003. It’s probably a typo but if left-handed-hitting outfielders can be obtained in return for dead players then the Sox may have a better chance of getting one than I thought.

Last edited 12 days ago by Joliet Orange Sox
Joliet Orange Sox

The link in the MLBTR story has been updated to now connect to Hector Rodríguez who is a living 18-year-old Dominican. It seems the Sox will have to give up living prospects if they make a trade.


Back to the White Sox’ specialty, then–trading live prospects for dead players


Joey Gallo seems available…

As Cirensica

Ticks a lot of White Sox boxes (in a bad way)


A few others like Peralta
Conforto will be interesting as he has is not limited by the trade deadline. Though, assuming he is even healthy, will need time to ramp up and will want to show what he can do in order to get an offseaso deal. I wonder how Boras plays this.


There’s no value to Conforto to sign if it doesn’t include beyond this yr.

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