Rays Rumors

Washington Nationals Still Interested in Alex Colome

By David Hill
Apr 22, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Alex Colome (37) and catcher Derek Norris (33) congratulate each other after the beat the Houston Astros at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Houston Astros 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 22, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Alex Colome (37) and catcher Derek Norris (33) congratulate each other after the beat the Houston Astros at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Houston Astros 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Washington Nationals have already made a change at closer, and have had quite a few issues with their bullpen. As such, Tampa Bay Rays closer Alex Colome remains on their trade radar.

Despite being one of the top teams in the National League, the Washington Nationals have a few pitching concerns. In particular, their bullpen has been a work in progress, to say the least. Blake Treinen, their closer to start the season, has already been removed from the role. In his place, the Nationals are planning on using the duo of Koda Glover and Shawn Kelley, at least for the time being.

Given that this is not an optimal situation for a team with World Series aspirations, the Nationals are understandably looking for a bullpen upgrade. Amongst the options discussed has been the Tampa Bay Rays closer Alex Colome. In fact, the Nationals even reportedly touched base with the Rays about their closer, although nothing has come o such talks thus far.

It is certainly understandable as to why the Nationals would be interested in Colome. He established himself as one of the best closers in the game last year, notching 37 saves while posting a 1.91 ERA and a 1.024 WHiP. In his 56.2 innings, Colome struck out 71 batters while issuing only 15 walks. It was not a surprise that he was the Rays representative at the All Star Game last year.

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Although he has not been the same pitcher thus far in 2017, Colome has still performed well. Heading into last night, he had struck out only four batters in his nine innings of work. However, Colome has also been perfect in his save chances, and has allowed just one unearned run on five hits and a walk. The strikeouts may not be at last year’s level, but it is hard to argue with the results.

Colome would also be an attractive option for a team like the Nationals given his contract status. He is under team control until 2021, and is not slated to reach arbitration until 2018. With the payroll decisions that will be coming up for Bryce Harper, and the contracts that have already been given to Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, the Nats will need to find a few lower cost solutions.

However, the Rays do not exactly have any impetuous to move on from their closer. His years of team control are an attractive asset in Tampa Bay as well, especially given their own payroll concerns. Add in the Rays solid start to the season, and how the Nationals are supposedly not even close to offering what the Rays would want for their closer, and Colome does not seem to be going anywhere any time soon.

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The Washington Nationals need bullpen help, and Alex Colome would make sense. The problem is, at least for the Nationals, it makes sense for the Tampa Bay Rays to hold on to their All Star closer.

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