Signing Bartolo Colon is a Better Move Than You Think

Bartolo Colon

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No matter how much some fans despise the front office (ownership in particular), you absolutely have to give them some credit for digging into their pockets, gritting their teeth, and giving an overweight, 40 year old former-PED user a 2 year contract worth $20 million. Right after Curtis Granderson signed his 4 year, $60 million dollar contract, many people across baseball wrote off the Mets for signing any more significant players due to their crippling debt. Many pointed towards Granderson’s contract as a decoy to silence the overwhelming, yet understandable impatience they were experiencing from the Mets fan base, while still being able to write off the 2014 season and wait until Matt Harvey’s return to make some real noise during the offseason. Well Sandy Alderson and company put those critics to rest after this signing, and I tip my cap to them for that.

Not only was this signing a statement that the Mets are serious about winning next season but it signified the fulfillment of a promise that was made when Sandy took the throne in 2010. A promise that this was the offseason the fans could look forward to while watching their team play meaningless September games; an offseason when we would finally become relevant again. With Colon’s signing, along with Granderson’s, Sandy sent a jolt of faith back into most Mets fans that had been absent for years and I think he has finally earned some of their trust back.

With that aside, let’s take a look at this signing and highlight some other reasons it was a smart move and one that needed to be made.

Sure, Sandy could have competed with other teams to sign Bronson Arroyo. However, they likely would have had to overpay even in this market to acquire him as well as probably needing to offer 3 years to seal the deal. With all the promising pitching prospects the Mets have coming up the pipeline, I don’t think a 3 year deal is necessary at all. So, instead, the Mets made a rather unexpected move and quickly swept up Bartolo Colon and gave him his desired 2 years. Two years and $20 million may seem like a lot for Colon, who is 40 years old and noticeably overweight, however, he has found great success in the later years of his career.

In his past 3 seasons, he has averaged 169 innings innings pitched per season with a 3.32 ERA, very solid numbers for someone set to slot into the middle of the rotation. He is also the type of pitcher who would benefit from pitching in the spacious Citi Field. Colon goes after hitters by primarily throwing a few different types of fastballs and when you have Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, and Chris Young patrolling the outfield, you let them make as many plays as possible. Citi Field’s dimensions are also slightly larger than in the Oakland Coliseum, so Colon will be a little less susceptible to the long ball. Colon has also played the majority of his career in the American League so pitching in the National League might slightly boost his already impressive statistics.

He can also serve as a mentor to some of the younger pitchers in the rotation, most notably Zack Wheeler. Colon has been around since 1997, playing for seven different teams so I’m sure he has seen it all. The Mets also have a plethora of young arms that will most likely make their debut next season and would greatly benefit from his wisdom.

When 2015 rolls around, the Mets will get their ace Matt Harvey back if all goes well with his rehab. Also, assuming no one is traded, their rotation might have some new names in it (i.e. Noah Syndergaard and/or Rafael Montero). If you pair those two with Dillon Gee, Jon Niese, Zack Wheeler and Mr. Harvey, there’s no room for Colon in the rotation so theoretically he could be used as trade bait during 2014-2015 offseason or preferably during mid-season in 2015 when teams are willing to overpay for veteran pitchers to patch up their rotations for the playoffs. Colon’s $10 million won’t look too bad if the team acquiring him has a real shot at a ring so the Mets might be able to pull off a nice return.

Even though Colon comes with some risk such as his age, his health, and his PED history, he also provides a monstrous upside. A veteran presence in a young rotation is undervalued in my opinion and Colon will serve as a role model to the many young arms in the Mets organization. He will also give the Mets a shot to contend for a wild card spot next year and beyond if they need him. If they don’t need him in 2015, then I’m sure the Mets will find a suitor for him and receive a promising prospect(s) in return. For now, however, Colon acts as a sign that the Mets are on their way back to relevance and that 2014 can be looked forward to instead of dreaded.

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