White Sox add potential new closer, acquire Alex Colome in trade with Mariners


The White Sox upgraded their bullpen in a big way Friday.

The temperature on the Hot Stove got cranked up, as the White Sox brought in a guy who could be their 2019 closer, Alex Colome, in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. The deal sent Omar Narvaez, who might have been the team's starting catcher next season, out west to the Evergreen State.

Colome will be 30 on Opening Day and is just one year removed from a huge season with the Tampa Bay Rays, in which he led baseball with 47 saves. The year prior, he made the AL All-Star team and saved 37 games. He recorded just 12 saves in 2018, traded before the end of May to bolster the Mariners' bullpen, which featured major league saves leader Edwin Diaz. All in all, Colome's 96 saves are the fifth most in the majors since 2016.

Colome is under team control for another two seasons and is projected to receive $7.3 million through the arbitration process this winter.

The addition immediately upgrades the White Sox bullpen, which ranked 23rd out of 30 major league teams in 2018. Despite the dropoff in saves, Colome posted a 3.04 ERA last season, including a 2.53 mark in 47 appearances following the trade. He also finished 2018 with 72 strikeouts in 68 innings, a terrific 9.5 K/9. His 30 holds ranked third in the AL.

Colome currently seems to be the leading candidate to be the team's closer in 2019. The White Sox had 10 different players record saves in 2018, though only four of those guys — Nate Jones, Jace Fry, Juan Minaya and Thyago Vieira — are still with the team.

As for who's departing, Narvaez was silently one of the White Sox best offensive players during last season's 100-loss campaign. His .275 batting average was the highest among players with more than 100 plate appearances, as was his .366 on-base percentage, with only Jose Abreu boasting an OPS higher than Narvaez's .794. After Kevan Smith went to the Los Angeles Angels earlier this offseason, Narvaez and Welington Castillo seemed locks to be the team's two catchers coming out of spring training, with Narvaez perhaps leading in the battle for the starting job because of his offensive output in 2018.

But now, Castillo could be joined by Seby Zavala, who was added to the 40-man roster earlier this offseason. Zavala , ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization's No. 22 prospect, got off to a hot start with Double-A Birmingham (11 homers in 56 games) before cooling off after a promotion to Triple-A Charlotte. Still, if he does get an opportunity to start 2019 in the majors, it'd be a valuable shot to prove he's part of the future for this rebuilding franchise.

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