The Rays and Nationals have been in contact about a possible trade of Tampa Bay closer Alex Colome, tweets Jon Morosi of the MLB Network. Morosi doesn’t characterize the seriousness of the talks, though Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted recently that the Rays might market Colome once Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman sign, so perhaps this was a bit of ground work. The asking price on Colome, if the Rays do indeed field offers on him, would figure to be exceptionally high. The 27-year-old (28 at the end of the month) had a breakout season in the Tampa Bay bullpen this past year when he took over the ninth inning for the injured Brad Boxberger. In 56 2/3 innings, Colome logged a scintillating 1.91 ERA with 11.3 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 47.1 percent ground-ball rate with 37 saves. Beyond the dominant numbers, Colome has yet to reach salary arbitration and is controlled for another four years before he’s eligible for free agency.
More trade chatter from around the league…
- Morosi also tweets that the Nationals are considering center field options beyond rumored top target Andrew McCutchen, and Adam Eaton of the White Sox is among them. Chicago’s willingness to part with Eaton, who is controllable through the 2021 season for a total of $38.4MM (only $18.4MM of which comes in guaranteed years), isn’t exactly clear. While some reports this offseason have indicated that the Sox are only interested in trading players with three or fewer years of club control remaining, FanRag’s Jon Heyman suggested yesterday that they could be open to dealing virtually anyone following the Chris Sale blockbuster. Moving Eaton, who hit .284/.362/.428 with elite corner outfield defense last season, would only make sense for an exceptionally large haul of young talent.
- Heyman tweets that David Robertson has drawn some trade interest, but the White Sox might wait to see which teams miss out on Jansen and Chapman before seriously exploring offers. In that case, they’d face some competition in the form of the Rays and Colome, though Robertson would require a lesser prospect package from teams that are in the market for bullpen help. Then again, Robertson is also owed $25MM over the next two seasons and is coming off a disappointing season (by his standards), giving bullpen-needy teams a number of factors to mull when considering the pair of trade candidates.
- The Braves inquired with the Orioles about the availability of right-handed setup man Brad Brach but found the asking price too high, tweets Sherman. Per his report, Baltimore asked Atlanta for young outfielder Mallex Smith in return. Brach has been nothing short of outstanding with the O’s over the past two seasons, compiling a 2.39 ERA with 10.3 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9 in 158 1/3 innings of work, and he’s under club control for another two seasons. Smith won’t turn 24 until next May, though, and comes with five years of team control. He appeared in 72 games last season, his Major League debut, hitting .238/.316/.365. While those numbers don’t stand out, Smith has blistering speed and is considered a plus defender capable of playing all three outfield positions. He’s also performed fairly well in the upper levels of the minors, though he looks to have a limited role in 2017, when Atlanta will trot out Matt Kemp, Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis to the outfield grass.