Getty Images

The Chicago White Sox are poised to add to their already excellent bullpen. The ChiSox are nearing a three-year contract with free agent righty reliever Kendall Graveman, reports MLB Network's Jon Heyman. The deal will be in the $24 million range. The team has not yet confirmed the news.

Graveman, 31 next month, went from the Mariners to the Astros in a deadline deal that wasn't received all that well in the Seattle clubhouse this summer. Between the two clubs the veteran righty threw 56 innings with a 1.77 ERA and strong strikeout (27.5 percent) and ground ball (54.9 percent) rate. It was Gravemen's first season as a full-time reliever.

Kendall Graveman
CHW • RP • 31
View Profile

Chicago's bullpen was already one of the strongest in the game -- their bullpen ranked second in baseball with 7.8 WAR in 2021 -- and adding Graveman to a group that includes Liam Hendriks, Aaron Bummer, and potentially Garrett Crochet again will give manager Tony La Russa a bevy of late-inning options. 

Not mentioned in that group: Craig Kimbrel, and his omission was intentional. The White Sox exercised Kimbrel's $16 million club option earlier this month and all signs point to a trade. Kimbrel struggled after coming over in a deadline trade (13 runs in 23 innings) and just never seemed to settle in. A trade is the best for Kimbrel and the White Sox.

The $16 million salary is expensive, though Kimbrel was out of this world good with the Cubs prior to the trade, and the White Sox shouldn't have too much trouble moving him. The Blue Jays and Phillies jump to mind as potential landing spots. Chicago could seek prospects or a second baseman in return.

Once Kimbrel is traded, Graveman will effectively step in as Hendriks' top righty setup man. In addition to second base, the White Sox also need to re-sign or replace Carlos Rodón, perhaps bring in a right fielder, and add more pitching depth (because every team needs more pitching depth).

As for the Astros, they still have Ryne Stanek and Phil Maton to serve as Ryan Pressly's setup men, plus Justin Verlander's return could push Cristian Javier into a full-time bullpen role. That said, Graveman was excellent with Houston, and losing a top bullpen arm is always a blow.

Our R.J. Anderson ranked Graveman the No. 50 free agent available this offseason. He was one of only five full-time relievers to crack the top 50.