LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Who knew? The New York Mets were straight with us when they said they weren’t finished as they announced the signing of Bartolo Colon today to a two-year, $20-million contract.
Just like that, the Mets addressed a massive hole in their rotation. Should the 40-year-old Colon pitch anything like he did last year with Oakland, the Mets all of a sudden must be elevated to at least wild-card contender status. Yes, I said it.
Seriously, they’ve added enough, and if their existing talent improves, the Mets can realistically be expected to be better. They didn’t add young, vibrant expensive names, but added enough talent to where they should be taken seriously.
They aren’t on a par with Washington and Atlanta for the NL East Division lead, but the additions of Curtis Granderson and Colon should be worth at least seven more victories this season, and perhaps more when Matt Harvey returns in 2015.
The Mets won 74 games last year, and reaching .500 would take at least one more victory a month, which is entirely doable. With two wild card slots, .500 or slightly better will make October possible.
Colon’s age is somewhat of a gamble, because, after all, how long can he go? Even so, he’s been an innings-eater, which is exactly what the Mets need. Colon was second in the AL in ERA at 2.65 and finished sixth in the Cy Young balloting.
* Colon: He can’t last forever, but has showed no signs of breaking down. Three straight solid seasons that no Met can boast over the last five years.
* Niese: He’s coming off shoulder surgery and has an injury history in his short career. But there’s no doubting his bulldog mentality on the mound and desire to win games.
* Wheeler: Manager Terry Collins said Wheeler could be capable of 200 innings. That’s a little ambitious considering the leash Harvey was on last year, but if he develops as hoped the Mets will have something special.
* Gee: Pitched 199 innings last year. Can he do it again? Why not? Gee is underrated, but a valuable commodity.
Colon brings a lot to the table, including a calming, veteran presence that can only benefit Wheeler and Harvey next season.
What he also does is buy time until Noah Syndergaard is ready. The Mets still need a fifth starter, which could be Jenrry Mejia if he’s healthy, or they could force-feed Rafael Montero. (That wouldn’t be a bad thing.)
In another development, Seattle signed Corey Hart away from Milwaukee, which leaves the Brewers needing a first baseman. Yes, the Brewers have been linked to Ike Davis, but word is they want to make a run at Tampa Bay first baseman James Loney.
Tampa Bay, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Baltimore are all in the market for first basemen.
I don’t expect the Mets to deal Davis by the end of the week, but then again, nobody anticipated them landing a name starter this week.
* Joe D. contributed to part of this report.