Chicago White Sox

White Sox set table in bid for Manny Machado

Relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera officially joins team

The Sox on Tuesday signed former Nationals pitcher Kelvin Herrera.
The Sox on Tuesday signed former Nationals pitcher Kelvin Herrera.

In a normal offseason, trading for a player such as Yonder Alonso and signing players such as Jon Jay and Kelvin Herrera wouldn’t move the needle much for the White Sox.

This offseason is far from normal.

Having shed payroll the past two years while building up a barren minor-league system, the Sox now have plenty of money to spend, and they reportedly have made an offer to star free agent Manny Machado.

That’s where Alonso, Jay and Herrera come in.

Alonso’s sister is married to Machado, and the two are offseason neighbors in Miami.

“I think it would be very, very nice to also be neighbors on the South Side,” Alonso said after being acquired in a Dec. 15 trade from the Indians. “We’re definitely very close. I know he’s very excited for me, his whole family is very excited for me.

“He’s going to do his thing. He’s going to obviously do what’s best for his family. But we all understand, we’re a very tight family and we definitely would like to, obviously myself ... maybe in the future play alongside each other.”

Jay also lives in Miami and works out with Machado and Alonso in the offseason.

The 33-year-old outfielder reportedly agreed to a one-year contract Monday night with the Sox, but the deal won’t be officially announced until Jay passes a physical.

As for Herrera, who officially joined the Sox on Tuesday after agreeing to a two-year, $18 million contract with a $10 million club option for 2021, the 29-year-old relief pitcher has faced Machado since 2012 and is familiar with the four-time All-Star.

“I’ve known Manny since a long time ago, and he is a very good baseball player,” Herrera said through an interpreter. “I think his stats speak for themselves. He is a very, very good player. I would like to have him on my team.

“I know there are a lot of rumors around him, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to help any team that he decides to sign with.”

As for Herrera, he has been a good reliever for seven straight seasons, going 24-29 with a 2.82 ERA, 113 holds, 60 saves and 454 strikeouts in 460 innings.

Traded from the Royals to the Nationals in June, Herrera was limited to 10 games after the All-Star break because of a Lisfranc fracture in his left foot.

The right-hander is healthy and “very optimistic” about being ready to go when spring training opens next month.

Herrera is excited about pitching for the Sox, and he’s already experienced being a part of a successful rebuild with Kansas City, which made back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014-15, winning the championship on its second try.

“I’m excited for the direction this team has taken,” Herrera said. “It resembles my time with Kansas City when I was starting. We were in the rebuilding mode, and we were just trying to learn how to play the right way, with intensity and giving it a 100 percent effort every time. I think that’s something that you can see in this team, too.”

To clear a spot for Herrera on the 40-man roster, the Sox designated left-handed pitcher Ian Clarkin for assignment.

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