Even after losing Kevan Smith, who was claimed off waivers by the Angels in late October, the White Sox still had plenty of depth at catcher.
Welington Castillo returns in 2019 with one more year on his contract, and first-round draft pick Zack Collins and Seby Zavala are waiting in the wings in the minor leagues.
Omar Narvaez was ticketed to back up Castillo next season, but he was traded to the Mariners Friday for Alex Colome, who likely steps in as the Sox’s new closer.
“We view Alex as a terrific addition to our bullpen given his experience in a number of relief roles, including closing very successfully for Tampa Bay in 2016-18 before moving into a setup role with the Mariners,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. “Alex is going to be a very important bullpen piece for (manager) Ricky (Renteria) and our team over the next couple of years.”
Contractually under club control through the 2020, the 29-year-old Colome was a combined 7-5 with a 3.04 ERA and 12 saves with Tampa Bay and Seattle last season.
The right-hander was traded from the Rays to Mariners May 25 and was 5-0 with a 2.53 ERA, 30 holds and one save in 47 appearances with Seattle.
Colome also became the first pitcher in major-league history to record at least 10 saves and 30 holds in one season.
In 2017, the 6-foot-1, 220-pounder led the American League with 47 saves. Colome had 37 saves in 2016 and was an AL All-Star.
He provides needed help in the Sox’s bullpen, which ranked 13th in the league with 34 saves last season.
Narvaez batted .275 with the White Sox last season and established career highs with 14 doubles, nine home runs and 30 RBI. He also threw out 24 percent (21 of 87) of attempted basestealers.
“Omar has quietly developed into one of the tougher outs among catchers in MLB,” Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto said. “His contact and on-base skills are welcome additions to our lineup. The fact that he is also under club control through 2022 made him a great fit for our club.”