Trader Jerry ships Colome to Chisox
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
New Mariner catcher Omar Narvaez
November 30, 2018
While the giant trade of Robinson Canó and Edwin Díaz to the Mets is still pending, Mariner GM Jerry Dipoto did trade a closer today. Reliever Alex Colome, who came to Seattle in an in-season deal with Tampa Bay last May, was dealt to the Chicago White Sox for catcher Omar Narvaez.
Trading Colome leaves the Mariners without an established closer (presuming the deal with the Mets goes through), but adding Narvaez gives the M's a starting catcher, something they're in dire need of after trading Mike Zunino last month.
Narvaez, who will be 27 in February, hit .275/.366/.429 in a part-time role with Chicago last season. He has never played more than 96 games in a season professionally (830 Class-A innings, 2015), so whether he can be expected to perform every day is an open question. In 2018 he caught 85 games (72 starts) for the White Sox. He's shown a good batting eye in the big leagues—last year's .366 OBP matches his career mark—and figures to offer a far more productive bat than did Zunino, though with less home-run power. In the field, it's another story; where Zunino is among the best there is defensively, Narvaez is a work in progress. His 12 passed balls last season were only two more than Zunino's 10, but it was in 90 fewer innings. He was behind the plate for 44 wild pitches, and sabermetrically speaking, has a Defensive Runs Saved mark of -13 and a Strike Zone Runs Saved (i.e. pitch-framing rating) mark of -8, compared to +12 and +4 for Zunino.
The trade also serves the purpose of further trimming the Mariners' payroll obligations. Colome still has to go through the arbitration process to determine his eventual 2019 pay, but it will likely be around $7.5 million; Narvaez, on the other hand, will earn something under $600,000.
Dipoto figures to make an attempt to get a second catcher at some point this offseason to fill both a backup and a defensive replacement role. The only other catcher currently on the 40-man roster is light-hitting David Freitas.