The Chicago White Sox bullpen just got an injection of veteran presence in the last few hours. Two moves on Saturday have given Matt Thornton some more experienced compatriots for the late innings.
MLB.com is reporting a trade with the Houston Astros that sees the White Sox pick up 31-year-old reliever Brett Myers in exchange for a pair of farmhands and a player to be named later. The move gives Chicago an experienced closer who could be used in a variety of situations.
Myers, who has been a starter for much of his big-league career, had 19 saves in 21 opportunities for the Astros. He is carrying a 3.52 ERA and an 0-4 record. Taking away a June 18 performance in which he gave up five runs against Kansas City, his ERA drops to 2.10 in his other 34 games.
The White Sox could use Myers in tandem with rookie Addison Reed in the ninth inning if they don't choose to anoint him as the team's closer.
Either way, the end of the pitching staff just got deeper heading into the stretch run.
The return of Jesse Crain from the DL this weekend, along with news that Gavin Floyd is eyeing a Monday return, is good news for the White Sox. Reed and Nate Jones can be used in fewer pressure situations. Skipper Robin Ventura has more experienced arms at his disposal.
At this time of year, that's a good thing.
Kenny Williams gets some early props for going out and improving the club without forking over any top prospects. Righty Matt Heidenreich and lefty Blair Walters were both low-minors pitchers who didn't figure into Chicago's plans for several years.
The fact that Williams has obtained Kevin Youkilis and Myers for relatively little keeps the possibility open for additional moves. With some question marks in the rotation, Williams could add a solid arm for the final two months of the season.
Myers is making $11 million in 2012, but at least a part of his remaining salary is being paid by Houston. If Myers finishes 16 games with the White Sox, a $10 million vesting option kicks in for 2013. If that mark is reached, the White Sox can buy out Myers for $3 million.
Myers saved 21 games with the Phillies back in 2007, but this is his first time closing since then.
If he can bring his game over to a close division race after toiling for a last-place Astros club, Williams will have potentially made another big move toward winning the AL Central.