June 17, 2021

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Beyond law

Alex Colome, Twins Reportedly Agree to 1-Year, $6.3M Contract in Free Agency | Bleacher Report

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Alex Colome agreed to a one-year, $6.3 contract with the Minnesota Twins, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Colome will have a $5 million base salary in 2021 and a 2022 option. 

Colome spent the past two seasons with the Chicago White Sox, who acquired him from the Seattle Mariners in November 2018.

His first year in Chicago was a mixed bag.

Colome sported an impressive 2.80 ERA, which was partially down to opposing hitters batting .215 on balls in play, well below his career BABIP (.279), per FanGraphs. He made 62 appearances, earning 30 saves and posting a 4.08 FIP. This was the third straight season in which his FIP climbed following his All-Star appearance in 2016.

Rather than non-tendering him or going to arbitration, the White Sox signed Colome to a one-year, $10.5 million contract for 2020. He responded with a dominant performance over the abbreviated season. 

Over 22.1 innings, he notched 12 saves while allowing three runs. He left runners on base 86.4 percent of the time, which helped compensate for a substandard walk rate (3.22 per nine innings).

Colome’s work on the mound helped the White Sox earn a wild-card berth and reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008. He threw two scoreless innings in the wild-card series against the Oakland Athletics.

The problem for Colome is that he hit the free-agent market at an inopportune time. Teams are tightening their budgets because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and relievers are feeling the crunch.

The Cleveland baseball team declined a $10 million team option for three-time All-Star Brad Hand, who became a free agent when nobody else claimed him off waivers and assumed his salary. Cleveland moving on from Hand was surprising but not a massive shock. Him clearing waivers was far more telling.

To a lesser extent, the Tampa Bay Rays may have set the blueprint for others as they rode a pretty nondescript bullpen to an American League pennant. The unit was collectively excellent and didn’t have anybody who arrived at significant cost.

Of course, that possibly creates a new market inefficiency for those who are willing to sign experienced relievers. Although Colome doesn’t transform Minnesota’s bullpen, he’ll be a proven option for manager Rocco Baldelli.

The Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers are probably at least another year away from contention, and Cleveland continued its payroll slashing by trading Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets.

The American League Central could be a two-horse race between the Twins and Chicago White Sox, thus giving Minnesota a strong incentive to add to its options in late-inning situations.