Throughout spring training the widely held assumption was that the White Sox would use Nate Jones as their closer after trading Addison Reed to the Diamondbacks, but manager Robin Ventura avoided making any sort of official announcement and now we know why: Matt Lindstrom is going to be Chicago’s closer.
Jones is probably the better pitcher, but Lindstrom isn’t bad either and has some previous closing experience for the Marlins in 2009 and Astros in 2010. He has 45 career saves, along with a 3.56 ERA, and last season Lindstrom logged 61 innings with a 3.12 ERA and 46/23 K/BB ratio for the White Sox.
These things aren’t set in stone, of course, and odds are Jones will get a crack in the closer role at some point. But for now Ventura will go with the 34-year-old veteran and use Jones in key spots that don’t involve a lead of 1-3 runs in the ninth inning. Depending on specifically how Ventura uses him, that could actually be a more valuable role.
The Braves released veteran infielder/outfielder Jose Bautista on Sunday, per a team announcement. Right-hander Lucas Sims was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett in a corresponding move.
Bautista, 37, was recruited by the Braves in mid-April as a potential third base option. He inked a minor league deal with the club and lasted just 12 games in the majors, during which he batted a meager .143/.250/.343 with three extra-base hits and a .593 OPS across 40 plate appearances. While he isn’t too far removed from his last productive season in the big leagues — he collected 40 home runs, a .250 average and 5.3 fWAR with the Blue Jays in 2015 — his power has been noticeably declining over the last three years, and it’s clear the Braves don’t have enough time or opportunity to wait for him to get his groove back.
Without Bautista, Johan Camargo is expected to handle the hot corner on a daily basis. The 24-year-old infielder is working through his sophomore season at the major league level and entered Sunday’s game batting .226/.368/.403 with six extra bases and a .772 OPS in 76 PA. General manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged that top infield prospect Austin Riley could also get a shot at playing third base sometime in 2018, though the club has no current plans to promote him from Triple-A at the moment.