The trade deadline is just a couple days away. And though the White Sox seem like they might stay quiet, for a variety of reasons, that's not stopping a flow of rumors about teams interested in White Sox players.
The latest is from MLB Network's Jon Morosi, who tweeted Monday that the Philadelphia Phillies have interest in White Sox closer Alex Colome.
That's the third NL East team to be associated with the White Sox and their appealing relievers in recent days, with the first-place Atlanta Braves and the second-place Washington Nationals linked last week.
The Phillies started the day Monday six and a half games back of the Braves in the division race but just one game back of the three-way tie for the NL's two wild card spots between the Nationals, Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, the latter two also tied atop the NL Central standings.
Philadelphia's bullpen has not been great this season, owning one of the 10 highest relief ERAs in the game at 4.75. They signed former White Sox closer David Robertson this offseason to be their ninth-inning man, but he's been on the injured list since mid April.
The White Sox, however, do not seem particularly motivated to move any player on their roster at the moment, especially someone like Colome, who has a year of team control remaining on his contract. That could very easily set him up to be the White Sox closer in 2020, a year that, thanks to the many positives that popped up during the first half of this season, could be the one that features the team's transition from rebuilding to contending. If the White Sox believe they're capable of making the postseason or winning a division title in 2020, keeping Colome and fellow late-inning reliever Aaron Bummer to serve as the back end of the relief corps would seem a wise move.
That being said, any team could swoop in and blow the White Sox away with an offer. Closers, specifically have been able to fetch steep deadline prices in recent seasons, with the Cubs dealing Gleyber Torres to the New York Yankees in 2016 and the Cleveland Indians shipping Francisco Mejia to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Brad Hand last summer. Could the White Sox find that kind of return for Colome — one that outweighs the value in going into a potentially contending season with an All-Star caliber closer — in the coming days?
The Phillies, just to look at the latest team tied to Colome, have a pair of top-100 prospects in third baseman Alec Bohm and pitcher Adonis Medina. You would have to assume that in order to give up a year of Colome's closing, the White Sox would have to get one of those two guys in return. And that seems, at least on the surface, kind of unlikely.
If the Phillies really believed they were in position to win a World Series title this season, maybe they'd make that move, as the Cubs did in trading away Torres, though that was a summer before they dealt Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease to the White Sox, keeping two pretty highly rated guys at the top of their prospect rankings for the time being. It's also worth noting, too, that Colome's remaining season of team control would apply to a team that acquires him this week, meaning the move could be a multi-season one, perhaps raising price of the return.
And so whether the White Sox move Colome over the next few days has everything to do with the return package, which might sound obvious, but it's a way of saying that they will not trade Colome just to get something for him. Because the something they get by keeping him could be a closer for a contending White Sox team in 2020. Any team can show interest, but they'll have to match or beat that in order to pry Colome away from the South Side.