Newcomer Alex Colome's 96 career saves make him a natural candidate to handle closer duties for the White Sox.
"I wasn't expecting a trade to Chicago," Colome said Thursday during a conference call with writers. "But I was really happy when it happened, especially after my agent told me I'd have a pretty good opportunity to be a closer again."
The Sox acquired Colome, 29, from the Mariners on Friday for catcher Omar Narvaez. Colome, a former closer with the Rays, will have the opportunity to compete for the role with Nate Jones, who missed most of 2018 because of a muscle strain in his right arm.
"I can't tell you right now that I'm going to be the closer," said Colome, who was used in a setup role behind Edwin Diaz (since dealt to the Mets) after being traded from the Rays to the Mariners on May 25. "I know I have to earn that position. I will be ready for that. That's something I have to prove in spring training, and I'm very confident in myself and know I can do the job."
Colome had a career-high 47 saves with the Rays in 2017. He admitted he was initially unhappy in the setup role but responded with a 2.53 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings and one save with the Mariners.
"My mind wasn't in the right spot in that moment," said Colome, who came to embrace the opportunity to still pitch "with the game on the line" in a setup role.
Colome, whose fastball tops out in the 98-mph range, sounded invigorated by his trade to the Sox. He said he has yet to speak to manager Rick Renteria.
With six years of experience, Colome believes he can help a young team, especially after being mentored by veteran relievers, including Fernando Rodney and Joel Peralta.
"I think I can be a very good example for the guys," Colome said. "I'd personally like to talk to the guys and help them in best way I can."
Colome described his trade as a "big surprise," given that he had joined a Mariners team with playoff ambitions less than seven months ago.
"When I started seeing all the trades, it really surprised me," Colome said. "I wasn't expecting that.
"But when they traded me to the White Sox, I felt happy because I know this is a young team with a lot of energy, a team that is planning to be a competitive team and fight for a playoff spot in years to come."