The Yankees don’t really need to add a power arm to their bullpen, but they may deal for Alex Colome to keep him away from the Red Sox.
The last thing general manager Brian Cashman needs to improve this season is the Yankees bullpen. Nonetheless, the team are actively scouting White Sox closer Alex Colome. The Bronx Bombers want to make sure Colome isn’t the answer to the Red Sox’s issues in the bullpen.
The Yankees and Red Sox aren’t the only two teams interested in the 30-year-old right hander. In addition to the pair of AL East powers, scouts from the Cubs, Phillies, Nationals, Mets and Diamondbacks have all been dispatched to watch Colome pitch recently. As a franchise firmly committed to a youth movement, the White Sox are open to the idea of getting a nice prospect haul in exchange for their closer.
The fact that he is also going to be eligible to hit free agency in 2020 also adds to the pressure on Chicago to move him now if they want a significant return. Fortunately for officials in Chicago, Colome is enjoying an excellent start to the 2019 campaign. His 1.59 ERA in just over 22 innings of action this season will make him an appealing trade target for a number of contenders.
Even the Yankees could benefit from adding a power arm like Colome to their stable of bullpen arms. Aaron Boone’s relieving corps has been dominant this season, but they’ve missed the services of Dellin Betances as a setup man. The organization believes he’ll be back this season, but the lack of obvious medical progress to date is a real concern. Adding Colome to the likes of Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino and Tommy Kahnle to set up closer Aroldis Chapman would only add to the best bullpen in MLB.
The Red Sox certainly have a more significant need in their bullpen. Ryan Brasier has been an adequate closer for Alex Cora this year, but they’d like to add a dominant closer to fill the role Craig Kimbrel vacated. If they can make up some ground on the Yankees and Rays in the coming weeks, expect Boston to become shoppers ahead of the trade deadline.
It’s still fair to question whether or not the Yankees would actually expend meaningful resources to strengthen what’s arguably been the strongest component of this year’s team. In a vacuum, it’s not a move that would make sense for Cashman and his front office.
Of course, the MLB trade market is not a vacuum. Instead, decisions are made based on how you can improve your own team and on how you can keep your rivals at bay. That’s precisely why the Yankees are keeping a close eye on Colome.
At the very least, they want to make sure the Red Sox have to pay a premium if they want to acquire him. At most, the Yankees will pounce on the powerful right-hander to make sure Boston stays firmly in the rear view mirror of the AL East race.
In the end, it’s unlikely that Colome will call the Bronx home this season, but it’s not out of the question. Cashman won’t hesitate to pull the trigger on a deal he feels can both strengthen his team and weaken the Red Sox at the same time.