The White Sox on Tuesday made official the signing of right-hander Kendall Graveman to a three-year, $24 million deal and on Wednesday announced a three-year, $16.5 million deal with switch-hitting infielder/outfielder Leury Garcia.
Garcia, 30, is the longest tenured Sox player, acquired in a 2013 trade with the Rangers for Alex Rios. He batted .267/.335/.376 with five homers and 54 RBI in 126 games last season — his ninth with the Sox — while playing six positions, including shortstop and center field. Nicknamed “Leury Legend,” Garcia is expected to be used in the same role in 2022, playing numerous positions.
“Having him around provides that similar flexibility for us and coverage for whatever may unexpectedly arise going forward,” general manager Rick Hahn said Wednesday. “We’re glad to have the Legend back.”
Graveman, 30, a ground-ball pitcher who, in the last two seasons, hiked his two-seam fastball velocity to an average of 96 mph and raised his strikeout rate, was 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA, 61 strikeouts, a 0.98 WHIP and 10 saves over 53 appearances last season with the Mariners and Astros. The American League champion Astros used him in a setup role after acquiring him in a midseason trade. He appeared in nine postseason games, allowing two runs over 11 innings.
“Kendall is a veteran who provides us with end-of-game bullpen depth and an ability to induce ground balls,” Hahn said. “He’s a high-character guy and a great teammate who will fit well within our clubhouse and bullpen.”
It’s the richest deal of Graveman’s career.
“I felt wanted here the most,” he said. “And Rick was great to work with. Ultimately, it came down to wanting to go to a team that was winning and trying to win. That’s what I want to do is to win baseball games.”
The looming expiration of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement at 11:59 p.m. Wednes-day has triggered a flurry of big-name free-agent signings around baseball, but Graveman is the only such signing by the Sox so far. They have needs at second base, catcher, in the starting rotation and in the bullpen — especially if they trade right-handed reliever Craig Kimbrel.
Right field also is unclear, although the Sox haven’t ruled out going with a combination of Adam Engel, Andrew Vaughn, Gavin Sheets and Garcia.