GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox don’t have a lot of battles this spring, but the bullpen could provide one of the fiercest competitions of camp.
Injuries aside, the White Sox would likely begin the season with a seven-man bullpen.
If they can maintain their health throughout camp, the White Sox look to have a tough decision on their hands when they head west in April to start the season at the Oakland A’s. With Nate Jones at full strength and the recent signing of Matt Albers, the White Sox have a full complement of relievers.
“There’s a fight for some spots,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We do have a pretty set bullpen, but there’s a couple of wild cards in there as far as depending the route we want to go. Do we want more innings out of that spot or cover it with just using more guys consistently?
“There’s a couple of options there.”
Technically, Jacob Turner is in the mix for both a spot in the starting rotation and in the bullpen. But the signing of Mat Latos two weeks ago could solidify the starting five as long as he shows he’s healthy.
That could leave Turner — who signed for $1.5 million and is out of minor-league options — vying for a spot as the long man in the bullpen, if that’s how the White Sox choose to design theirs.
Were Turner in that mix, the White Sox have at least seven relievers earning $800,000 or more as well as Jake Petricka. Albers, David Robertson and Zach Duke are all but locks to make the relief unit based on their salaries, experience and talent.
Dan Jennings is out of options and would have to be subjected to the waiver wire were the White Sox not to put him on the 25-man roster.
Only Jones, Putnam and Petricka have options left. With Jones earning $900,000 this season and a candidate to pitch in a setup role, he’s on the roster if he’s healthy. That could leave the decision down to just Putnam and Petricka, a pair that combined to convert 20 of 25 save opportunities in 2014.
Tommy Kahnle and Daniel Webb — both who have options — and Scott Carroll are also in the mix.