According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Colorado Rockies (and St. Louis Cardinals) are aggressively pursuing trade with the Tampa Bay Rays to acquire their closer Alex Colome.
Today, the Winter Meetings opened up with their first full day of teams being at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida and, as of now, the Colorado Rockies, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, are “aggressively pursuing” a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays to acquire their closer Alex Colome.
Colome is not a household name but this is not due to a lack of pitching well. It’s because he plays for the Tampa Bay Rays, or in a small market.
Colome as the Rays closer
Colome has been the Tampa Bay Rays closer since 2016 and he has done very well for the team. In 122 games combined between the two season, he has had an ERA of 2.63 with 84 saves (an average of 42 per season). He has an ERA+ of 156 and he averages 2.8 walks compared to 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings since 2016. He was also an All-Star in 2016.
However, in 2017, he had 47 saves (with only six blown saves, or a save completion rate of 88.7%). Those 47 saves led baseball by a wide margin as Kenley Jansen of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Greg Holland, then of the Rockies, were tied for second with 41 saves.
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Why the Rockies should trade for Colome
For starters, he has four years left before he reaches free agency, or after the 2021 season. He isn’t even arbitration eligible until next offseason. In the past three seasons, Colome has, essentially, made the major league minimum (it was $535,000 in 2017 and Colome made $547,900).
However, to acquire him (because he is controllable, cheap, and he has pitched well), he will take a lot to acquire, including top prospect(s). Also, with the Cardinals being linked to Colome and the Cubs most likely being interested especially considering that Joe Maddon, the Cubs manager, and Jim Hickey, their new pitching coach, spent significant time in Tampa (Maddon managed the team from 2006 through 2014 and Hickey was their pitching coach from 2007 through the 2017 season).
I think that the Rockies should keep the door open for anybody for the bullpen but if they think that they can acquire Colome without having to give up the entire farm system, they should go through with the trade.
He’s young (he’ll turn 29 on December 31), he’s affordable (in salary), and he has a proven track record. That is something that Rockies need to anchor their bullpen.