Fresh off a loss in which the bullpen gave up three runs to the Royals, the Atlanta Braves were linked to one of the best relievers on the market in White Sox closer Alex Colome. He would be more than just an impact arm; he would likely assume the role of the team's closer.
While the Atlanta Braves bullpen has transformed from one of the worst in the league to one of the best, there's little to suggest that the team doesn't need help closing out games.
Incumbent closer Luke Jackson has blown seven saves, and as a team, the Atlanta Braves have blown 17 saves.
Bruce Levine of 670AM The Score in Chicago, first tweeted the rumor, saying:
So if Colome is their closer, but Bummer is their potential closer, it looks like Colome could be on the block.
However, Levine did note in his article that unlike in the past, there didn't seem to be as big of a 'sense of urgency' this year for the White Sox to strike a deal.
In a previous article, I also suggested that Colome could be a target, and perhaps at a lower cost than targets such as San Francisco's Will Smith, or Toronto's Ken Giles. Maybe that's not the case if 'most clubs' have shown interest, as Levine said.
Colome has been excellent for the White Sox, and would serve as a massive upgrade for the Atlanta Braves bullpen. A 2.38 ERA is supported well by stingy 0.80 WHIP.
His success is driven off a two pitch repertoire, a fastball that sits around 95mph and a cutter that ranges in the low 90s. The righty, nicknamed 'The Horse' has converted on 21 of 22 save opportunities this season.
Perhaps what may be even better is that Colome is controllable through 2020 by way of arbitration.
[ Aaron Bummer, by the way, is sitting with a 1.73 ERA in 36 innings and would not be a free agent until after the 2024 season... exactly why he'd be prohibitively expensive. ]
When I discussed Colome in my previous piece, I employed the baseball trade simulator to conjure up a deal. Colome registered a median value of 6.5 and a high value of 7.5. Looking at things again, and given the fact that several teams could potentially bid up Colome, I'd think it would take a (probably minimum) package of Joey Wentz (4.4 value) and catcher Alex Jackson (3.1 value) to reel him in.
Wentz, a lefty, offers a lot of upside. It's safe to say most teams would be glad to add him to their farm system. He's come along well as of late at AA Mississippi, posting a 1.98 ERA over his last five starts, striking out 39 batters. Those numbers don't scream 'let's trade this guy,' but with a wealth of pitching depth, Wentz or another like pitcher could be expendable.
Jackson's name is one that hasn't come up much in trade talks, but would be an immediate upgrade for the Chi Sox over Wellington Castillo, and perhaps some offensive insurance if All-Star James McCann is unable to keep his uncharacteristic offensive pace from 2019 going into the future.
Jackson has certainly bolstered his trade value by slugging 22 home runs at AAA Gwinnett. The former Mariners first round pick is unproven at the major league level, going 0 for 10 in a three game stint with the Atlanta Braves earlier this year.
As has been heavily documented over the past three weeks, the Atlanta Braves are looking for help in both the rotation and the back end of the bullpen, so perhaps a deal for Colome will go down.
A flurry of rumors have flown by lately, and there are sure to be more as the hours march towards the July 31 trading deadline. Just one week remains.