Posted on November 30, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine

Alex Colome

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Well, the Seattle Mariners are back at it again. On Friday, the Mariners traded relief pitcher Alex Colome to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for catcher Omar Narvaez. It’s already the third trade the Mariners have made in November. The move leaves no doubt that Seattle is in the early stages of a full-scale rebuilding project. Needless to say, more trades are expected in the weeks and months to come.

Colome’s time in Seattle turned out to be brief. The Mariners acquired him last May when they needed bullpen help. After spending two-plus seasons serving as Tampa Bay’s closer, Colome was the primary setup man for closer Edwin Diaz in Seattle. However, he may have a chance to move back to the closer’s job with the White Sox, who have no other established closer on their roster.

“We view Alex as a terrific addition to our bullpen given his experience in a number of relief roles, including closing very successfully for Tampa Bay in 2016-18 before moving into a setup role with the Mariners,” White Sox GM Rick Hahn said of Colome. “Alex is going to be a very important bullpen piece for (manager) Ricky (Renteria) and our team over the next couple of years.”

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To get Colome, the White Sox had to give up Narvaez, a young and promising catcher. Narvaez has been a part-time player with the White Sox the past couple of seasons. He’s regarded as a solid defensive player who also had the best offensive season of his career in 2018. However, with Welington Castillo still under contract, the White Sox could afford to part with Narzaez.

As for the Mariners, they were in need of a catcher after trading away Mike Zunino earlier this offseason. Narvaez has never been the primary catcher over a full season. But his performance last season makes him deserving of that opportunity. He’s also under team control through the 2022 season, making him perfect for the Mariners now that they’re rebuilding.

“Omar has quietly developed into one of the tougher outs among catchers in MLB, his contact and on-base skills are welcome additions to our lineup,” Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto said of Narzaez. “The fact that he is also under club control through 2022 made him a great fit for our club.”

Of course, the Mariners also appear to be in the process of trading Diaz to the New York Mets. Trading both Diaz and Colome in short order would obviously be a serious hit to Seattle’s bullpen. However, that’s not a huge concern for the Mariners if they don’t plan on competing in 2019.

Ultimately, both teams should benefit from this trade. The White Sox get a proven closer like Colome for the next two seasons to help them move forward. Meanwhile, the Mariners needed a catcher, and they got one who could be a long-term solution, even if they are willingly taking a step back. The only question is what move with the rebuilding Mariners make next.

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