There hasn’t been much public buzz about Alex Colome’s market this winter, but the former All-Star has been attracting some attention in free agency. Darren Wolfson of SKOR North (via Twitter) reports that the Twins “recently inquired” about Colome’s services, while FanSided’s Robert Murray (Twitter links) adds that the Nationals, Red Sox, Astros, and White Sox have also shown interest.
For the last five seasons, Colome has been a solid and occasionally dominant ninth-inning option, racking up 138 saves for the Rays, Mariners, and White Sox since the start of the 2016 season. With Chicago in 2020, Colome posted just an 0.81 ERA over 22 1/3 innings, while posting a largely impressive slate of Statcast metrics (in particular finishing in the 95th percentile in barrel percentage). ERA predictors, however, weren’t nearly as impressed with his work, as Colome’s 2.97 FIP, 4.26 xFIP, and 4.44 SIERA all reflected his ordinary 6.4 K/9, as well as some good fortune in the form of a .200 BABIP and 86.4% strand rate. He also didn’t allow a single home run last year, which isn’t likely to be duplicated over a full season.
Colome largely relies on a two-pitch arsenal of a cutter (which he has thrown over 70% of the time in each of the last two seasons) and a four-seam fastball that clocks around the 94.4mph range. It’s hard to argue with results, of course, though teams could be wary of committing big money to the 32-year-old Colome going forward if they feel his advanced metrics will start catching up to his on-field numbers.
That said, the lack of Colome updates to this point could also be par for the course during an offseason that hasn’t seen much high-priced movement in the relief market. Trevor May’s two-year, $15.5MM deal with the Mets represents the only significant contract given to a relief pitcher this winter, and such names as Liam Hendriks, Brad Hand, Blake Treinen, and Trevor Rosenthal continue to wait for their next teams (not to mention many other prominent relievers who could be available in trades).
As we inch closer to the projected start of Spring Training, it isn’t surprising that we’ll hear more news about interest in Colome and other relievers as teams start to get aggressive about filling holes in the bullpen. All five of the teams linked to Colome have needs at the back of their respective pen, even if a provisional closer is already in place to handle the bulk of save opportunities. For the White Sox in particular, there has been speculation that the team could elevate Aaron Bummer or Evan Marshall to closer if Colome went elsewhere, though it would make sense that Chicago would welcome back a familiar closer (at the right price, of course) if the Sox want some ninth-inning experience for what they hope will be a deeper run into the postseason.