Closer Alex Colome knows the drill. He has been there before.
So if he gets traded by the White Sox, it won’t throw him for a loop.
“They traded me from Tampa to Seattle and from Seattle to here, so I know all about that,” Colome said Tuesday.
It’s not something the 30-year-old right-hander wants to go through again, but he knows relief pitchers — especially good ones like himself — will be in demand around the league before the July 31 trade deadline. Teams making a push for the postseason can never have enough bullpen depth.
Some, as close as the Cubs across town, could use a closer.
“I don’t feel like jumping from team to team is really a good thing,” Colome said. “It’s hard for us. I don’t want to get traded, but that is something that can happen. You never know.
“The [general managers] know their situations; they know what they need to do. We’ll see what happens in the next month or month and a half.”
Sox GM Rick Hahn, who traded catcher Omar Narvaez to the Mariners for Colome in one of his best moves of the offseason, has a valuable commodity in Colome, who had 37 and 47 saves for the Rays in 2016 and ’17. For the Sox, Colome has been as good as it gets with 11 saves in 11 opportunities and a 1.59 ERA.
Colome pitched a scoreless ninth Wednesday in the Sox’ 8-7 victory against the Royals, a day after he got the win with a perfect ninth in the Sox’ 2-1 suspended-game victory over the Royals and a save with a perfect ninth in Lucas Giolito’s 4-3 win. He became the first pitcher since the Orioles’ Tommy Hunter in 2014 and the first Sox pitcher since Bobby Howry in 1999 to get a win and a save on the same day, according to STATS.
Making $7.3 million this year, he won’t be a free agent until after next season, which enhances his trade value. Therein also lies a reason the Sox, who should be in a better position to contend in 2020, might want to keep him.
“I like it here,” Colome said. “The coaches, the pitching coach, they are good. The manager is great. The teammates are good, too. I want to stay here, but we don’t control that.”
Colome says he operates best in high-leverage situations when the adrenaline flows, and his Sox numbers are backing that up.
He has pitched 11„ scoreless innings with one hit and two walks allowed and 14 strikeouts in 11 save chances, compared to four runs and seven hits over 11„ innings in 12 non-save opportunities. Manager Rick Renteria, who has given him non-save outings to keep him sharp, got to call him twice when it mattered in one day.
“Knowing a guy is very confident in what he’s doing, knowing how to attack the strike zone, how to mix his pitches,” Renteria said, “he’s been around doing it for a while and had success. Yeah, it’s nice.”
Colome has retired 23 of the last 24 batters he has faced.
“Physically and mentally, I feel good,” he said.
And if trade talk picks up in a few weeks, Colome says he won’t be rattled.
“No, no, no,” he said. “I just need a mound to pitch on. I don’t care where I’m going. I’m going to do the same job every time. Same Colome. In any situation, I’m going to do my best.”