The Sox on Thursday added veteran right-hander Joakim Soria from the Kansas City Royals and left-hander Luis Avilan from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a three-team deal.
It seems as if the Royals might be looking to clear some salary in order to make a bigger offer to free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer. In addition to sending Soria to Chicago, they sent left-handed reliever Scott Alexander to the Dodgers.
Los Angeles also receives minor-league infielder Jake Peter, who is the only player the Sox parted with in this deal. Peter had a nice year in 2017, hitting a combined .279 between Triple-A Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham, but he's blocked by Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson and Yolmer Sanchez in Chicago, and didn't appear to be part of the Sox's long-term plan.
Kansas City receives infielder Erick Mejia and right-handed pitcher Trevor Oaks from the Dodgers as part of the deal.
The only way this trade doesn't work out for the Sox is if Peter somehow becomes more than the utility infielder most people believe he is.
Although neither Soria nor Avilan figure to be part of the Sox's long-term plan, either, the two veterans provide a short-term solution in the late innings -- at least for the first half of 2018 -- and if they pitch well, they could be candidates to be traded midseason to contending teams in exchange for prospects who are more highly regarded than Peter.
Soria, 33, has 204 career saves, so I think we have a good idea of who has the ninth inning for the Sox when the season opens. Soria is not the pitcher he was in the past -- his ERA was an ordinary 3.70 for Kansas City last season -- but he has experience as a closer, and he kept the ball in the ballpark in 2017. He allowed only one home run in 56 innings, and at Guaranteed Rate Field, you want relief pitchers who keep the ball out of the air.
Avilan, 28, was 2-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 46 innings and 61 games with the Dodgers last year. The left-hander's main value comes in getting left-handed hitters out. In 2017, left-handed hitters slashed .195/.290/.280 against Avilan, while right-handers slashed .292/.376/.449. This is a pitcher that can be effective if manager Rick Renteria puts him in favorable matchup situations.
With this trade, here's how the Sox bullpen might look if the season started today:
Assuming a 12-man pitching staff, those likely are your seven relievers. Other bullpen candidates include right-handers Thyago Vieira, Jose Ruiz and Dylan Covey, plus left-hander Jace Fry.