After establishing himself as a reliable bullpen option in the second half of 2016, Luis Avilan struggled to start the 2017 campaign before once again finding his form post All-Star break. Despite posting a 4.30 ERA through the first half of the season, the southpaw finished with a respectable 2.93 ERA thanks to his 1.57 ERA across 23 second-half frames. He spent some time on the disabled list with a biceps injury and shoulder inflammation, the latter of which ultimately kept him off the Dodgers' postseason roster, though it isn't expected to affect his status for next season at all. He won't be in the mix for saves, but his strong strikeout rate (26.8 percent) and solid splits against same-handed hitters last season (.195/.290/.280 in 93 plate appearances) have Avilan positioned to compete for the top lefty setup role.
Avilan struck out three over a scoreless 1.1 innings in Wednesday's game against the Reds. Avilan has been spotless over three spring outings, allowing just one hit with no walks and seven strikeouts over 3.2 innings. In a refurbished bullpen, there isn't any one reliever whose role is set in stone, but you can bet Avilan will be part of the high-leverage crew.
Avilan agreed to a one-year, $2.450 million contract with the White Sox on Friday, avoiding arbitration. Avilan baffled left-handed hitters again in 2017, holding them to a .195 average and .260 wOBA, but the Dodgers decided they were fine on lefty relievers and recently unloaded Avilan as part of a three-team swap. He figures to serve as the top setup lefty for the White Sox as the team looks to build up his value and flip him at the trade deadline.
Avilan was traded to the White Sox on Thursday as part of a three-team deal. The White Sox also acquired Joakim Soria from the Royals while sending minor-league infielder Jake Peter to the Dodgers. Avilan primarily operated in a seventh- and eighth-inning role for the Dodgers last season, posting a 2.93 ERA and 52:22 K:BB over 46 innings of work. As one of the more seasoned bullpen arms for the White Sox, Avilan could provide a modest amount of holds for the rebuilding club and he sets up to be a prime candidate to be flipped at the trade deadline.
Avilan (shoulder) reported that his Wednesday simulated game went well and that he's ready to return to the field, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Avilan -- who threw 20 pitches in his simulated outing -- cleared the final hurdle in his shoulder rehabilitation program and is ready to rejoin the Dodgers' active roster. He'll likely be added to the team's NLCS roster prior to Saturday's Game 1 matchup against the Cubs or Nationals.
Avilan (shoulder) is expected to throw a simulated game Wednesday, J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Avilan missed the NLDS because of a sore shoulder, but if he's able to get through Wednesday's simulated outing with no issues, he could be added to the Dodgers' roster for the NLCS. The 28-year-old owns a 2.93 ERA and 52:22 K:BB through 46 innings of relief this season.