As Dan Hayes (@CSNHayes) reported earlier this week, White Sox reliever and free-agent to be Matt Lindstrom has said that he would like to re-sign with the White Sox this off-season. Lindstrom is in the final year of a two-year deal with the White Sox and is making $4 million this year.
Lindstrom had a solid season last year for the Sox appearing in a team high 76 games and was 2-4 with a 3.12 ERA and held right-handed hitters to a .255 batting average.
Lindstrom came into spring training this year as one of the favorites to land the closers role with the departure of Addison Reed in an off-season trade. Lindstrom won the job, in part due to the injury issues with Nate Jones. He was 6-for-9 in saves with a 3.32 ERA in 19 games before going down with an ankle injury in mid-May.
Since returning from the injury Lindstrom has struggled going 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA in four games. He has allowed six runs in four innings and opponents are hitting .389 against him.
The Sox certainly need to address the bullpen this off-season and it might be the number one area of concern for Rick Hahn. This year has been a train wreck in the pen, although the injuries to Lindstrom and Jones, the top two pitchers coming into this year, can’t be understated.
However, Jones will likely miss all of next year after undergoing Tommy John surgery and outside of Jake Petricka, none of the other young pitchers have really stepped up. That leaves the cupboard pretty bare.
Lindstrom certainly has some value. He is a veteran pitcher who has pitched in a variety of different roles out of the bullpen and has a career 3.65 ERA in 457 Major League games. With so many unproven pitchers vying for spots with the Sox, having a vet like Lindstrom with a solid track record, doesn’t hurt.
However there is also the concern of quick deterioration. Lindstrom is 34-years-old and will be 35 before the start of next season. The Sox saw how quickly a veteran pitcher with a proven track record can become ineffective this year with Scott Downs. And Lindstrom has struggled since coming off the DL, which could be linger issues with the ankle or it could mark the beginning of the end of his time as an effective pitcher.
The bottom line is that the White Sox are going to be looking for anyone and everyone to try and put together a bullpen that will be able to help them compete in the AL Central. If Matt Lindstrom wants to be here and is willing to sign a one-year deal for minimal money to try and make the team next year, I don’t really see the harm in that. However, if he continues to get shelled throughout the final month of the season, I am not sure it makes a lot of sense to keep him around.
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