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White Sox

Closer Colome may turn out to be a keeper

White Sox relief pitcher Alex Colome (left) celebrates with Yolmer Sanchez after striking out the Indians' Carlos Santana with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning May 7 in Cleveland.
White Sox relief pitcher Alex Colome (left) celebrates with Yolmer Sanchez after striking out the Indians' Carlos Santana with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning May 7 in Cleveland.

CHICAGO – During the first week of the season, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn reflected on all of the veteran players he’s traded for prospects over the past two-plus years.

“We look forward to being on the other end of these deals when we’re in a position where it’s time to add because we feel like it’s time to win again, time to win a championship again,” Hahn said.

Currently playing their best baseball of the season, the Sox entered Friday night’s action only two games out of the final wild-card spot.

That doesn’t mean playoff tickets are being printed on the South Side.

Although the Sox look to be much better this season than the past two years (a combined 129-195 record), they still are under .500 and have only one reliable starting pitcher – Lucas Giolito.

The Sox also have a closer – a standout closer – and they are hard to find.

Acquired in an offseason trade from the Mariners for catcher Omar Narvaez, Alex Colome has been an automatic save machine over the first third of the season.

The 30-year-old reliever is 11 for 11 closing games, the second-longest save streak in franchise history behind Dustin Hermanson, who opened the 2005 season with 15 straight.

“I am certainly glad that we have him in our bullpen, Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s been really, really good. We’ve called on him quite a few [times] over the last couple days. We’ve been happy with the way he’s been performing, and I think we expected for him to be able to do what he’s doing for us.”

Throwing a splitter that has been lethal to hitters on both sides of the plate, Colome has retired 23 of the past 24 batters he’s faced.

Before the 2017 trade deadline, Hahn dealt closer David Robertson to the Yankees. In July 2018, he got two pitching prospects (Kodi Medeiros, Wilber Perez) from the Brewers in a trade for closer Joakim Soria.

Colome, who led the majors with 47 saves in 2017 when he pitched for Tampa Bay, has much more value than Robertson or Soria.

There is no shortage of contending teams in need of a lockdown closer, and maybe Hahn does trade Colome if he gets an overwhelming offer.

But with the Sox finally heading in the right direction and possibly a strong team in 2020, it makes sense to keep Colome. The right-hander isn’t eligible for free agency until after next season.

“The fact he performs the way he performs, he’s been touted over the years, and he’s probably sought after by many,” Renteria said. “Many people will raise that [trade] question. I don’t think about that possibility.”

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