Reliever Alex Colome has been one of the best acquisitions for general manager Rick Hahn this season. The White Sox have been a more competitive team because of Colome’s ability to save games in 2019. His superb play has already generated trade interest which could force a difficult decision for the White Sox soon.
Chicago is currently three games under .500 and with a chance to move into second place in the division as they are in the middle of a four-game series vs. the Cleveland Indians at home. The reason why the team has been able to tease .500 all season is because Colome is 11 for 11 in save opportunities.
He currently has retired 20 consecutive batters which is an extremely impressive mark for a relief pitcher.
Although the team has been in a rebuild since the 2017 season, Colome has been the best closer the team has had since they traded David Robertson away to the Yankees in July of 2017.
Since that point, the White Sox have had a revolving door at the closer role as reliever have either failed or being traded to help the rebuild. Last season Nate Jones blew several save opportunities for the team, and Joakim Soria was traded to the Brewers once he became an effective closer.
This season, the team is more competitive due to the development of players like Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, and Lucas Giolito. They are just one significant winning streak away from being in serious playoff contention as at the moment they are two and a half games back of the second wild-card spot.
At the moment, Colome is the most valuable trade asset Hahn has if he wants to add another prospect to the rebuild before the team can contend next season. Unlike with Soria last season, Colome is signed for more than one season with the team. The team could choose to keep him and make him their closer when they are competitive again.
If the White Sox want to trade Colome, his contract and the team’s 2019 performance gives Hahn the upper hand in negotiations. Quality relief pitching is the most sought after commodity for teams competing for playoff spots. A closer who’s current ERA is 1.59 and is perfect is save opportunities could create a bidding war amongst teams.
One team that is currently in need of relief pitching, but also a closer is the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs bullpen has struggled with both Pedro Strop and Brandon Morrow sidelined with injuries. Last Friday, Steve Cishek blew a save against Cincinnati in the ninth which led to a Cubs loss.
670 The Score Baseball reporter Bruce Levine reported on Thursday that the Cubs have been scouting Colome, signaling some interest in the pitcher ahead of the deadline in two months. The Philadelphia Phillies are also interested per Levine:
Colome would be the perfect fit for the Cubs who would have reliable closer, and also would not have to rush Morrow back from his injury. The Cubs and White Sox work together on trades most recently including the Jose Quintana for Eloy Jimenez trade.
Given where the White Sox sit currently, the Cubs would have to offer more value than other teams if they want Colome’s services. Minor leaguer prospects like Dillon Maples, Ian Happ, or even Kyle Schwarber could be names discussed between the two teams.
Hahn has to weigh Colome’s value to the team because it is extremely hard to find lock-down closers in baseball. Playoff teams have reliable closer, and that is what separates them from the rest of the league. On the other hand, this may be Hahn’s last opportunity to add one more quality prospect before the team returns to relevance.