As productive as the White Sox bullpen was in 2012, change seems imminent. Matt Thornton, who has been with the Sox since 2006, and Jesse Crain are each in the final year of their contracts. Rookie Nate Jones and left-hander Donnie Veal gradually received more prominent duties during a playoff-contending season. The fact the Sox don't play the American League champion Tigers until July 9 gives team officials plenty to evaluate as they determine whether to keep their bullpen intact for the remainder of 2013 or look to the future while seeking value for their future free agents. "Bullpen guys come and go very often," said Thornton, who vaulted ahead of Neal Cotts as the primary left-hander during his first season with the Sox. "The fact those guys are up and coming and you see some guys in the minor league system that are up and coming means they all can't be starters. They've got to be in the bullpen somewhere. "All I can say is that you live in the present and worry about now, and that's all I do. The bullpen looks like it's in pretty good shape for the future." The Sox added veteran Matt Lindstrom to aid the back end of the bullpen. Lindstrom, 32, could be employed as a setup man to second-year closer Addison Reed, take over the closer role if Reed fails or share the late-inning duties with Crain. The Sox also hold an option on Lindstrom for 2014, which could serve as insurance if Crain is traded or leaves in free agency. The reliever who could affect the future the most is Jones, who posted a 1.64 ERA in the second half of 2012 and pitched a career-high 22/3 scoreless innings to beat the Tigers on Sept. 17 in what was the zenith of the Sox's season.
Sox bullpen in transition
Chicago Tribune | Feb 22