Could Cubs' Next Closer Come From White Sox?

Alex Colome has been stout with a 2.00 ERA and 0.67 WHIP this season.

Bruce Levine
May 18, 2019 - 10:29 am

CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- In July 2017, the Cubs and White Sox shocked the baseball world with a high-profile trade in which left-hander Jose Quintana was dealt to the North Side and touted prospects in outfielder Eloy Jimenez and right-hander Dylan Cease were sent to the South Side.

Two years later, the teams remain in similar positions. The Cubs are leading the National League Central at 26-16 and have the look of a championship contender. The White Sox are in their third rebuilding season and, while showcasing progress, are still primarily focused on their long-term outlook.

That begs the question: Could the teams again be compatible for a trade?

The Cubs are in need of another reliable reliever to handle high-leverage situations. That includes the closer's role, as Brandon Morrow continues to encounter setbacks in his rehab from elbow surgery in November and Pedro Strop remains sidelined by a grade-2 hamstring strain. It would be naive to assume Morrow could be a reliable closer even if he did get healthy, and the Cubs seem most comfortable when Strop fills a setup role, which he has done successfully for them for nearly six years.

The White Sox have Alex Colome closing games for them, and he's been stout in posting a 2.00 ERA and 0.67 WHIP in 18 appearances while converting all nine of his save chances. Colome, 30, doesn't carry a prohibitive contract. He's making just more than $7.3 million in 2019 and has one more year of team control before he can become a free agent.

In other words, Colome represents the type of reliever the Cubs will scour the market for. The White Sox have also made a habit in recent years of moving their key bullpen members to contenders ahead of the trade deadline on July 31, and it's likely an approach they'll take again assuming they're out of contention in the American League Central.

Of course, potential trades aren't something that manager Rick Renteria lets cross his mind at this time.

"I don't even think about that possibility," he said. "If conversations are being had, they are being had. They are nothing I think about or have conversations about. They are here to contribute, which they continue to do. I expect them to do that for the remainder of the season."

Three other relievers who could hit the trade market in the next few weeks are Tigers closer Shane Greene (1.42 ERA, 15-of-15 on save chances), Giants closer Will Smith (2.70 ERA, 11-of-11 on save chances) and Blue Jays closer Ken Giles (1.47 ERA, 9-of-10 on save chances).

What we know is the Cubs will canvass the market for bullpen help in the next couple months. When they do, they project to have an option on the other side of the city in Colome.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.