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If Phillies are looking for a reliable closer, this free agent fits the description

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The Phillies spent over $700 million on free agents the last three offseasons. Spending all over baseball could be impacted this winter by revenues lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that's not going to stop us from taking a daily look these next few weeks at some free agents who would fill needs and help the Phillies get better.

Today: Closer Alex Colome

Career to date

Colome, who has spent his entire career in the American League with Tampa Bay, Seattle and the Chicago White Sox, has quietly been one of the steadiest closers in the game in recent seasons. He saved 37 games for the Rays and made the All-Star team in 2016 and a year later led the majors with 47 saves.

The right-hander spent the last two seasons with the White Sox. Over that span, he recorded a 2.27 ERA, ninth-best among big-league relievers over that span, and locked down 42 of 46 save opportunities. That 91.3 success rate is fourth-best in baseball over that time.

Colome is a fastball/cutter guy. While some closers rely on big strikeout totals, he does it with a knack for generating soft contact and keeping the ball on the ground.

2020 season

Colome had a brilliant 2020 season in helping the Sox make the playoffs for the first time since 2008. He went 12 for 13 in save chances and gave up just 13 hits (no homers) while allowing just two earned runs in 22⅓ innings. That 0.81 ERA was third-best among big-league relievers. His WHIP was 0.94.

If there’s a concern about Colome, it might be that he registered just 16 strikeouts or 6.4 per nine innings. He had averaged a strikeout per inning the previous two seasons.

 

How he’d impact the Phillies

The Phillies had the worst bullpen in the majors in 2020 and manager Joe Girardi could not find a dependable closer in the mix of Hector Neris, Brandon Workman and Tommy Hunter. Colome would give him one.

Contract outlook

This is another tough call in baseball’s current environment. Colome made $10.5 million in 2020 and surely will be looking to parlay his strong track record into a multiyear contract, but revenue losses because of the pandemic and a crowded closer market could bring prices down. Teams will have to weigh the risk that comes with Colome’s age — he will turn 32 in December — and his drop in strikeouts. In the end, Colome is a very good closer, dependable and durable, and should have plenty of suitors.

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