White Sox

It's not up to Alex Colome whether he gets traded, but he's excited by what White Sox are building

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USA TODAY

It's not up to Alex Colome whether he gets traded, but he's excited by what White Sox are building

It's not up to Alex Colome whether he's traded over the next 24 hours.

No White Sox player has popped up in more trade-deadline rumors than Colome, who's been pretty dominant in his first four months as the team's closer. Relief pitching is always in high demand at this time of year, even more so, perhaps, now that there's just one trade deadline and no waiver deals will happen during the month of August.

Colome, though, is different from the two closers the White Sox have traded at each of the last two deadlines. He's under team control for one more season after this one, and that could be a season in which the White Sox are ready to make the transition from rebuilding to contending. If Rick Hahn's front office does move Colome before 3 p.m. Wednesday, it will be trading a guy who could have served as the closer on a contending White Sox team.

That might make a Colome trade seem more unlikely, though contenders have gone all-in acquiring closers in the recent past, with the Cubs dealing infield prospect Gleyber Torres away for Aroldis Chapman in 2016 the most notable example. If Hahn gets an offer like that, well then that changes things.

But should the White Sox hold onto their closer, Colome won't be upset. In fact, like every veteran who's strolled through the White Sox clubhouse in the past few years, he's well aware of the level of talent in this organization. And he's excited to be a part of that, too, if that's what ends up happening.

"I like the way the coaches treat the players and how they work together," Colome said through team interpreter Billy Russo. "Then the second part is all the talent that this team has and how those young guys are starting to develop to the potential of the players that they can be."

Multiple reports have featured Colome's name in recent days, with the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies rumored to have interest in Colome or other White Sox bullpen arms.

Colome said he doesn't pay much attention to the trade rumors that consume the rest of the baseball world this time of year, but he did admit that being sought after — as well as being discussed as someone his current team might want to hang onto — is, in a way, flattering.

"It feels good because that makes you know you are doing your job, that you are doing what you are supposed to do and there’s a lot of people that appreciate that," said Colome, the owner of 21 saves and a 2.27 ERA. "That’s something that gives you more confidence or motivation to keep doing your job."

If anyone knows what it's like to be traded, it's Colome, who was sent from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Seattle Mariners during the season in 2018 and then was acquired by the White Sox in exchange for Omar Narvaez over the winter. That move seemed to be one that could either set the White Sox up with a All-Star caliber closer for the next two years or give them a very intriguing trade chip at the deadline. We'll find out which route Hahn & Co. take by Wednesday afternoon.

"I can’t tell you how I will react to that because I’m still here," Colome said, asked how he'd feel about getting traded. "I feel very good here. I know that this is a business, but I feel really good here, and I just try to control what I can control."

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Watch Luis Robert rope a triple for his first hit of spring training

Watch Luis Robert rope a triple for his first hit of spring training

Of all the excitement surrounding the White Sox entering 2020, Luis Robert might have the most juice right now.

After dominating three levels of the minors last season and fresh off signing a lucrative contract extension before even playing in a big league game, Robert has plenty of buzz around him. On Tuesday, he showed off a little bit of why in Cactus League action.

Robert roped a ball into the right-center field gap and raced to third for a triple.


Robert is known for his power and speed combination, which led to a 30-30 season in the minors last year. This is a good example of it. 

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Any Yoan Moncada extension would be in line with White Sox strategy

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AP

Any Yoan Moncada extension would be in line with White Sox strategy

Is a Yoan Moncada extension in the works?

Moncada's not aware of anything, or so he told reporters Tuesday in Arizona.

"Honestly, I don’t pay too much attention to that," he said through team interpreter Billy Russo. "My focus is just in the game and preparing myself to be in the best position that I can be for the season. Just work hard. That’s my goal right now. That’s where my focus is right now.

"If my agent calls me and tells me there is something ... then we’ll consider it. For now, I’m just focusing on my game and my preparation."

Whether winds blowing throughout the Twittersphere are onto something or not, indeed it is extension season. The White Sox just announced a long-term commitment to reliever Aaron Bummer over the weekend. It was in the run-up to Opening Day last spring that Eloy Jimenez signed his big-money deal that assured he broke camp with the big league club and could keep him on the South Side for as long as seven more seasons.

The big-money deal for Luis Robert — the second for a player yet to play a major league game in as many years — came well before the first full-squad workout at Camelback Ranch. But it shows the continued commitment by the White Sox to keep this core together as long as possible.

Seeing that kind of commitment to Moncada, who emerged as the team's best all-around hitter last season, after struggling through his first full year in the majors in 2018, would not be surprising.

"This tends to be the most productive time of year in terms of getting extensions done," general manager Rick Hahn said the day pitchers and catchers reported to Glendale. "Doesn’t mean anything is going to happen. But especially early in camp when things are a little quieter, it’s a little easier to have those conversations and certainly not distract the player from their in-season games or their late-camp preparation.

"In terms of whether any of those will materialize, we’ll see."

One already has, with Bummer. Could Moncada be next?

Though purely speculation, the White Sox third baseman would perhaps be less inclined than others to jump at big dollars now. After all, he received a record $31 million signing bonus when he signed with the Boston Red Sox as an international free agent. Since coming over to the White Sox in the Chris Sale trade, he's shown why the other color of Sox invested that much in him in the first place. While dancing around some injury issues in 2019, he slashed .315/.367/.548 with 25 home runs and 79 RBIs. He was considered an All-Star snub by many in the home clubhouse at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Whether Moncada and his representation want to cash in now or hold off for a bigger payday in free agency — scheduled to arrive after the 2023 season — is up to them.

The White Sox have shown their dedication to extending a contention window by keeping these youngsters on the South Side for a good, long while. Certainly they would be happy to employ Moncada for as long as possible, particularly if his 2019 breakout was merely a sign of things to come.

Take a look at how long the White Sox have their core under club control:

— Through the 2021 season: Nomar Mazara, Carlos Rodon

— Through the 2022 season: Jose Abreu

— Through the 2023 season: Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez

— Through the 2024 season: Tim Anderson, Michael Kopech

— Through the 2025 season: Dylan Cease

— Through the 2026 season: Eloy Jimenez, Aaron Bummer

— Through the 2027 season: Luis Robert

That's a lot of club control, and moving Moncada down on that list a few spots would only make the long-term future look all the better.

"I feel comfortable on this team," he said. "I have been feeling comfortable on this team since the moment I came here. I actually see myself on this team for a very long time."

We'll see, to borrow a Hahn term, if anything materializes before Opening Day. But if something does, that would be right in line with the front office's strategy as they look to open that contention window.

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