MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins declined their end of Alex Colomé's $5.5 million mutual option for the 2022 season on Friday, making the veteran reliever a free agent and deepening the club's need for pitching options during this coming offseason.
Colomé will be paid a $1.25 million buyout as he joins shortstop Andrelton Simmons and right-hander Michael Pineda in entering free agency. The Twins also claimed right-hander Jharel Cotton off waivers from the Rangers and outrighted outfielder Rob Refsnyder off the 40-man roster on Friday, leaving the roster at 31 players.
With Colomé gone, the leverage roles in the Twins' bullpen will lie with Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala and Caleb Thielbar for now, with additional help likely needed to fill out the '22 relief corps.
Alcala could help to fill the gap left by Colomé to serve as an important cog in the late innings for Minnesota considering the development of his changeup and his maturation to the league in the last two seasons, culminating in a strong finish to the '21 season.
The Twins hoped Colomé would serve as their de facto closer alongside Rogers at the back end of their bullpen in '21, when they loomed to contend for a third straight American League Central title. Instead, a disastrous April for Colomé derailed both the veteran right-hander's season and the Twins' place in the standings early in the year en route to the club's last-place finish in the division.
Though Minnesota signed Colomé to a one-year deal with the mutual option after the veteran posted a 2.95 career ERA across his first eight seasons and an 0.81 ERA in 21 appearances for the White Sox in 2020, the 32-year-old blew three saves and took three losses with an 8.31 ERA in April and was moved to a lower-leverage role by the end of the month.
Colomé eventually hit his stride with a 3.25 ERA and 15 saves in 27 2/3 innings following the July 30 Trade Deadline and finished his season with a 4.15 ERA, 58 strikeouts and 23 walks in 65 innings across a team-leading 67 appearances. But even considering the relatively low $4.25 million price tag for a reliever with Colomé's track record, the Twins opted to move on.
In addition to filling out the bullpen following Colomé's departure, the Twins also need a good deal of help on the starting side this offseason, with rookies Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan seemingly the only pitchers on the current roster in line for consistent starting opportunities.