Jan
12

The Silence Is Deafening: Bartolo Colon

By

(AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill)

Larry hinted at this yesterday, but the market for Bartolo Colon has been absolutely non-existent this offseason. If you look at his MLBTR archive, there have been a total of two posts written about the burly right-hander this winter: one looking at his free agent stock, the other a short little bullet point about Brian Cashman mentioning his interesting in re-signing Colon and a few others. That’s it, not a single other newsworthy item about the guy over the last two and a half months.

Given the lack of impact pitching in this year’s free agent market, Colon figured to draw some interest after resurrecting his career in 2011. MLBTR ranked him as the tenth best starting pitcher available this winter while Keith Law (Insider req’d) had him 11th, so the media thought he had some value to offer going forward. The 30 teams seem to disagree based on how little interest there’s been, or at least disagree about just how much he could help next year.

There are obvious reasons why teams would be skeptical about Bart going forward. He’s going to be 39 in May, he’s overweight, and both his fastball velocity and overall performance declined in a big way down the stretch last year. He’s also a two-pitch pitcher for all intents and purposes (four-seamer and two-seamer), leaving him short on wiggle room. I think there’s also a fear of the unknown given his stem cell treatment, since no one really knows what to expect going forward. Was the second half fade the result of fatigue, or is his shoulder starting to come apart? Maybe both? I don’t think anyone really knows the answer to that question.

Despite all that, I do think Colon’s getting a bit of a raw deal this winter. He outpitched both Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano last season while in the tougher league and the tougher ballpark, but those two guys ended up with the two-year, eight-figure contracts. Neither of them is all that young, plus they both have injury histories of their own, a significant one in Capuano’s case. I’m not saying Bart deserves that kind of contract, but it goes to show what kind of gap there is between our perception of his value and how the clubs see him.

The Yankees brought Freddy Garcia back with a one-year, $4M deal earlier this winter, which probably means Colon is looking at something below that. Garcia is coming off back-to-back 150+ IP seasons, a claim Bartolo can’t make. Of course if his market continues to not exist, he might be looking at another minor league contract, probably one with a higher base salary than the $900k he made last year. Colon didn’t sign with the Yankees until late-January last offseason (the 26th to be exact), and I have to think they’ll show some more interest in bringing him back if he’s still sitting out there in a few weeks.

I think that Colon’s lengthy winter ball stint — 37.1 IP without including playoffs — contributed to his late season collapse, and not having to deal with all those extra innings will theoretically help him going forward. Of course that also means he won’t break camp in what amounts to midseason form, but that will just make him like everyone else. I don’t expect Colon to repeat his first half brilliance over a full season, but I think he can still be useful at a reasonable price. The only problem is that no teams seem to feel that way.

Categories : Hot Stove League
  • Thomas Cassidy

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Colon come out of the bullpen next year. He’ll catch on somewhere else as a number five or long reliever for cheap.

  • Dick Winters

    Colon needs to do what Pedro did a couple years ago and come back midseason. Contenders who suffer injuries to starting pitching would take another look at him. He had his movement and velocity until the end and that’s what he needs to be good. If he doesn’t pitch as many innings he shouldn’t wear down like he did last year.

    • Flying Choppers

      If that’s the case, the Yankees should just sign him for peanuts and have him stay “in shape” in Extended Spring Training.

      • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

        What shape is that exactly? That of the Goodyear blimp I assume?

  • jsbrendog

    i’d love it if they brought him back. do it.

  • Flying Choppers

    Surprised you don’t mention the procedure he had done and the uncertainty of it – both the long-term viability and the legality. The former is unknown, the latter may have raised questions that haven’t been reported yet. After all, Colon would seem to be a success story for the procedure. Why aren’t players flocking down to have it done as well?

    • jsbrendog

      I think there’s also a fear of the unknown given his stem cell treatment, since no one really knows what to expect going forward.

      except…you know…he did.

      • Flying Choppers

        Perhaps that’s why I flunked reading comprehension in the 2nd grade?

  • Flying Choppers

    That said, of course sign Colon…unless they’re going to sign another pitcher.

  • Mister Delaware

    Pass. isoP > .200 in August and Sept, LD% jumped, K% and avg and max velo all crashed and he just looked done. ST invite, sure, but nothing guaranteed, no inside track on a roster or rotation spot or any of that. When you catch lightning in a bottle, and then that lightning is allowed to negotiate with other bottle owners after his contract with you and your bottle run out, its usually a good idea to just let that lightning go.

    • Jose M. Vazquez..

      Well said. Why not just give that spot to Noesi from the start. I know they want him to start all year. But why waste time with a pitcher who is probably done.

      • Flying Choppers

        Because MLB depth isn’t a bad thing. At worst he eats up roster space and the post-game buffet. At best, he’s a viable above average starter. The kids are great and all, but they will need to see if a spot opens.

        • Mister Delaware

          Depends on what kind of depth he is. If he looks like early 2011 Colon in spring training, absolutely. If he looks like the 2nd half version, he’s useless. And not even “who cares, a kid can sit in Scranton for 2 months” useless, but “there are other minor league deal veterans we could have carried” useless. Perhaps I’m wrong here, but he looked so, so, so done. (And, I’d venture to guess, if he didn’t have the recognizable name / solid career, he’d be allowed to be done here too.)

        • Darren

          LOLZ about the buffet.

          Speaking of which, don’t the post-game spreads always sound so good? Rice and beans, pernil, all kinds of goodies.

          MMMM.

          And I don’t know why you dont give him $1mm and call it a day.

  • Rich in NJ

    I’d only want him on a mL deal.

  • Billion$Bullpen

    If he drops in their lap again grab him. I have full confidence they are monitoring this correctly. The thing with Jackson looks to be a potential disaster and I hope they move away from him and keep Hal, Hank and all their lackeys away from Boras until he signs eleswhere.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    I think the silence is surprising. I think he’d do a reasonable job next year not being asked to carry the load of a full-time starter at the front of a rotation.

    That being said, there comes a point where the Yankees need to see what they have in the guys logjammed at AAA, and bringing in guys whose names we know just because we can’t stand to watch the team struggle a bit to figure it out is not going to help them in the long term, or even not-immediate-short-term.

    • Dan

      I agree, Colon doesn’t fill a need for the Yankees this year. With all the ML-ready pitchers they have in AAA, all he would be doing is keeping one of them from getting a chance to play and if that happens the Yankees should just trade them for younger prospects. Warren, Noesi, and Phelps are ready for potential back-end of the rotation spots and Mitchell is ready for a long-relief role.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Bart’s 2 seamer was deadly the first 2 months of last year. He then pulled a hamstring which really set him back-maybe more than he or the Yanks would admit. Also, a few umps would not give him the strike call because his ball had such late movement to the outside corner against righties and the inside corner against lefties. Find out who those umps were and keep Bart off the mound those days!

    I’d bring him back to see what he has.

  • Bronx Byte

    No reports seen anywhere as to what Colon is doing in the offseason. Is he trying to keep in pitching shape ? Has he or his agent spoken to Cashman at all ?

    • MannyGeee

      if by ‘pitching’ you mean ‘pear’, the I would venture to guess that YES, Bartolo Colon is staying in ‘pitching shape’…

  • Rainbow Connection

    Sign the man. Damn.