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Liam Hendriks was the top free-agent reliever on the market. With the closer reportedly signed, here's how the Chicago White Sox bullpen could shape up.

Lamond Pope, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Baseball

Liam Hendriks began his big-league career as a starter but has become one of the game’s best closers.

The Chicago White Sox reportedly signed Hendriks late Monday to a three-year deal, with a team option for a fourth season, for $54 million guaranteed.

The right-hander was the top free agent reliever on the market. He won the American League Reliever of the Year Award in 2020 while pitching for the Oakland Athletics.

“What that does, if you have a legitimate closer, it helps you set up the rest of the bullpen and it also has an effect on your opponents knowing that the game has gotten short,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said in December when asked of the importance of having a proven reliever in the role.

La Russa will get to implement that game plan. Here’s a breakdown, alphabetically, of the possible bullpen options for the upcoming season.

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Aaron Bummer

The left-hander was limited to nine appearances and 9⅓ innings during the 2020 regular season because of a left biceps strain. He allowed just one run on five hits, finishing 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA, 14 strikeouts and five walks.

Bummer had three holds in 2020 after tying for sixth in the AL in 2019 with 27.

Bummer has been the team’s top setup man and has shown the ability to excel if needed for two innings.

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