Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has an immense hole to fill in the bullpen with Juan Nieves' departure to become the pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox. So big in fact that White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper indicated to CSNChicago.com’s Dan Hayes that the bullpen vacancy was a "critical" one for the team.
From all accounts, the search for Nieves’ replacement in the bullpen will be an in-house affair for Hahn and the White Sox. Hayes wrote in the same article that the new general manager "sounded confident the White Sox have plenty of internal candidates" to replace Nieves.
To the outside observer, there seem to be two criteria.
Cooper told Hayes in the CSN piece that he and Nieves were in “lock step” with one another. Hahn went on to add that the success the “young guys had in the bullpen this past year” is, in part, due to the work Nieves did with them.
This indicates that the new bullpen coach must be both familiar with Cooper and have a talent for working with young pitchers.
While no names have officially been released, here are 10 candidates for bullpen coach either in the organization or with very close ties.