Kind of keeping with a theme with today's preview. I wrote yesterday about Scott Downs, one of the oldest members of the White Sox and while Matt Lindstrom isn't as old as Downs, he is on the high side of 30, 34 to be exact. He had an ok year in 2013, but not exactly great. He did appear in 76 games last year for 60.2 innings pitched, but he gave up 64 hits in those innings. Also from 2012, Lindstrom's walks rose significantly from 14 to 23. His ERA also rose from 2012 from 2.68 to 3.12, another troubling sign.
So that is the bad news. The good news is that Lindstrom comes relatively cheap, signed in 2013 for two years at $6.3 million, so this is last year of the contract. Also he doesn't give up a lot of fly balls, which at US Cellular is a definite plus. If the White Sox infield defense improves from last year (how can it not!) Lindstrom will surely benefit, especially his BABIP which was high at .330.
Overall, Lindstrom is pretty much what one expects from a right-handed reliever. According to Fangraphs he had a WAR of 1.0, a little more valued by Baseball-Reference with a 1.4 WAR. He pitches an inning or less, with 36 of his games between 1.2 and 1.0 innings per appearance. He rarely pitches 2 innings, only doing so twice in all of 2013. The rest of his appearances were all below one inning. Basically, he comes in, gets a few guys out, hopefully anyway, and turns it over to the next guy. Seems like a pretty good plan.
Except, when doing my due diligence I decided to search "Matt Lindstrom" and "closer." Turns out Lindstrom would like a shot at the closer's role. He does have some experience in the job, saving 23 games in 2010 for the Astros. He can get to 95 mph on the radar gun and since coming to the White Sox he has thrown the slider effectively. I wrote about the possibility of Nate Jones taking over as closer and how I hope the team waits to see who might emerge. Seeing how Lindstrom has an interest and some experience, an on going audition seems even more likely.
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