Hoping for the best from Bartolo Colon

Bartolo Colon pitches for the Oakland Athletics in 2012 (Photo credit: Keith Allison via Flickr)

Bartolo Colon pitches for the Oakland Athletics in 2012 (Photo credit: Keith Allison via Flickr)

Bartolo Colon officially became a Met on Saturday, and if he can pitch the way he did in Oakland, Sandy Alderson made a great acquisition.

Colon started 54 games over the last two seasons, averaged 171.1 innings per year, walked just 52 batters while striking out 208 and had a 2.99 ERA.

On the other hand, if Colon pitches like you could reasonably expect a 41-year-old, 5-foot-11 man who charitably weighs in at 265 lbs. to do, then the Mets have a $20 million problem.

I’m hoping for the best, and at the very least I’m happy that I can expect to see one player on the Mets’ roster who’s older than me.

You can follow Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook or Google+, see my photos on Flickr and Instagram, and follow @PaulsRandomStuf on Twitter, where I talk about about a variety of things in addition to baseball.

About Paul

NY Mets enthusiast, toy collector, amateur gardener, Christian. I like to take pictures & write things.

Posted on December 15, 2013, in Baseball, New York Mets and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Paul,

    $20 million, the first ten of it a waste, as the Mets won’t be competitive next year, at least at this point in time, for a 41-year old pitcher and for two years, no less–and I don’t care what kind of shape he’s in or what he did last year, is dumb.

    Between Colon and Granderson, the Mets might just as well have taken the $35 million owed to them for next year and flushed it down the toilet. Or, what do you say we split it?🙂

    The Mets have won 74 each of the last two years. What is that $35 mil going to buy them next year? Bupkis.

    Being a Mets fan is so trying. Even so, it’s more rewarding than rooting for the Yankees.🙂

    Like

    • Colon put up those numbers as a 39 & 40 year old pitcher, so I’d argue that they are relevant. I’m just not convinced that they are repeatable.

      And in an entertainment business, your product & the perception of it both matter. The 2014 Mets are not going to be a playoff contender, but if the Wilpons kept the money they’ve spent this winter to improve their own bottom line, we’d probably be looking at a 65-70 win team instead of a 70-75 win one.

      Good years from a few rookies might let a 75-win team make a push for .500 and build some positive momentum for 2015.

      Now if the money going to Granderson, Colon & Young was going to reduce ticket prices or provide a better fan experience, I’d be in favor of doing it insteas of signing old (or not very good) players. Since it wouldn’t, I’m happy to see them trying to field a slightly more competitve team. Maybe they will surprise us.

      Like

  2. Bartolo might not have been my first choice, but perception IS reality. And, reading the recaps of the Winter Meetings from seasoned baseball writers, the Mets are being hailed as one of “the big winners” of said meetings. As I said about Grandy (and the earlier acquisition of George Foster), everyone (except Mark, apparently) sees these moves as a sign that the Mets are “back in the game”. I said it about Foster and I’ll say it about Grandy and Colon. It doesn’t matter how many more games we win with them than without them. A message needed to be sent. It had to be sent this off season. The message needed to be sent that the Mets are serious about putting a winning team together and will spend money to do it. I think we all know they didn’t spend any real money, here–just savings from expired contracts. And I don’t think anyone truly believes that Grandy and Colon are the difference between contending and not contending. But the fact is, there IS now a perception–palpable, whether real or illusion–that the Mets are “back in the game”. Given that many so-called Mets fans were on the verge of gathering up pitchforks and torches and burning CitiField to the ground, these moves were necessary and significant and have already accomplished what they needed to accomplish. It brings credibility to the franchise, which matters to fans, sportswriters, advertisers, players and other teams.

    From a strictly baseball perspective, the signings give the Mets some flexibility to trade for some of our many, many needs. Last year, we had no outfielders; now we have at least one too many. Adding Colon, we don’t have to rush a kid who isn’t ready (It’s not just about Super 2; I know some don’t believe that, but the roads are littered with the bodies of thousands of promising young pitchers who were rushed and thus ruined) or, in the alternative, maybe we can now include a pitcher in a deal for a shortstop or whatever.

    I know, also, that the cynics don’t believe there actually IS a plan. And yet things have unfolded exactly on the schedule and in the manner I expected they would from the time Sandy took over. Some people loved Omar. Face it, Omar was the Dave Kingman of GMs. He’d take massive swings. Sometimes, it would be a monster home run. Mostly, it would be a mighty wind as he screwed himself into the ground. On balance, he hurt the franchise more than he helped it. I’ll take the steady singles and doubles hitter that Sandy has shown himself to be. In the end, he’s far more likely to help this franchise win, even if guys like Omar Kingman are the flashy ones that fans prefer.

    Like

    • Stubby and Paul,

      Respectfully… Very respectfully…

      For next year, the Mets will spend $32 million. What did they get for it?

      Colon replaces Harvey. Assuming he keeps up what he did last year, it’ll be almost a wash, though Harvey had a noticeably better year past the W-L record. At 41, Colon is perilously close to the end of the line. And the Mets are spending $10 million as a stopgap to fill his spot in the rotation. And then they’ll spend another $10 mil in ’15 for who knows what.

      Granderson replaces Byrd. Granderson for the last five years? .246/.333/.484 and both his speed and defense are waning. Sad to see in a 32 year-old player, but not a surprise. Marlon Byrd over the past five years? .282/.329/.442 and a handful of fewer games that Granderson, but not all that much. Byrd cost the Mets a million last year. Yes, that was a steal. It also made him a very valuable commodity if he had a decent year. Granderson’s contract is an albatross.

      The Mets have an outfield (“one too many” is what you said, Stubby). What outfield are you looking at? Don’t misunderstand; I like Lagares. But, realistically, what is the long-term market for even a one-dimensional .260-hitting outfielder (Lagares hit .242 but there’s room for improvement and I don’t see much better than .260-.270 out of him) with great defense? If he plays at that level, it won’t be long until you see his batting line as something like 80 games/190 AB, as he’ll be more of an occasional starter/defensive replacement.

      Chris Young? $7 mil for a guy who’s broken .250 once in his prime years?

      Eric Young? Exciting to watch and he seemed to provide a leadoff spark for the Mets. But .251/.318/.329 isn’t any recipe for long term success.

      Lucas Duda belongs in a beer softball league.

      What do the Mets have for offense? Wright, of course. Murphy, maybe. But, with a lack of power and OBP, he’s worth a lot more at .320 than .280. Most players are. D’Arnaud will do far better than he did in his short trial last year. At least we can hope. After that, what’s left? 1B is a big question mark. SS is dead.

      The Mets are going to live and die (and win and lose) with their pitching. Though they have to shore up the pen and assuming Harvey comes back the way he left, the Mets will have one of the best starting staffs in MLB.

      These guys *could be* the ’69 Mets all over again–a couple decent bats and fantastic pitching AND a truckload of luck as it seemed someone different, even the low average guys, seemed to step up every night.

      “Perception,” you say? Sorry, but I can separate that from reality. And, anyone with an ounce of sense will realize that the Mets spent $32 mil next year and will derive little from it. And the guy they gave the fattest contract to is, perceptually, worth it but, realistically, worth maybe a third of it. Other than luck, there’s nothing indicating the Mets will win any more than the 74 they won each of the last two years.

      Like

  3. Another point to consider with Bartolo Colon – as far as I saw, Alderson did not give him a no-trade clause. That leaves the door open to move Colon for prospects if he pitches well and Alderson considers that to be in the team’s best interest.

    I don’t see this signing as a “waste” unless Colon pitches the way you would expect someone his age to, and he hasn’t been doing that for years.

    Like

    • Paul,

      At $10 mil per, Alderson will likely have to eat most of that contract should he decide to move Colon.

      Like

      • If he expects a decent prospect back, yes… that seems to be how the game works now.

        Given the contracts awarded to pitchers this winter, $10 million per season isn’t very much if Colon can duplicate his Oakland performance, though.

        Like

        • Past 40, it’s wishful thinking there, Paul. And, if that happens, the Mets will have essentially paid $10 million or more for a prospect or two.

          The Mets added three new names. But they didn’t really ADD anything, just substituted.

          I will never root against them, but I’m a realist. ’15 could be good. There’s nothing there in ’14.

          Like

  4. Mark,

    I would tend to say that Bartolo Colon has been succeeding with smoke and mirrors for the past five years. Can he keep it up for another two? Who knows?

    I’ll agree that the Mets didn’t really add to their roster so much as they substituted – but at least Alderson was allowed to make the effort to field the most competitive team that resources would permit. If everything goes perfectly, maybe they can even flirt with .500 next year.

    Not really the most exciting target, I’ll admit, but after 70, 79, 77, 74 and 74 win seasons the last five years, we are where we are.

    Like

    • Paul,

      I’ll grant you that Alderson, who should probably be given credit ahead of Billy Beane for the idea of “Moneyball,” is a vast improvement over Minaya. And, assuming the Wilpons allow him to spend a bit, he’s a great fit for the team. The deals that got Wheeler and d’Arnaud were good ones, at least in my opinion.

      About Colon… Well, it seems he’s enjoyed a resurgence since the shoulder surgery four years ago and he can take a regular turn and be effective. But I can’t help but think that the Mets bid against themselves when they offered him what they did. He has great control and a pretty decent strikeout pitch for an old man, but he’s been giving up more hits than innings pitched for years. Should he lose his control or strikeout pitch a bit, that could really come back to haunt him. And the $10 million per was for the 18-6, 2.65 record because the rest of his record combined with his age is worth about half of what he’ll get paid over the next two years.

      Flirting with .500 is a goal, I’d guess, given the last five years. It’s amazing where you can set your standards when you’ve been mediocre for that long.🙂 But, to spend $32 million next year to buy .500 (and I don’t think they’ll do even that) is senseless. Save your money for when you really want to make a run. And that’ll be when Harvey comes back, Wheeler gels and maybe Syndergaard becomes a viable third or fourth pitcher (because he ain’t no ace).

      And I’m still trying to figure out the Young deal. OK, maybe Alderson sees something that we mere mortals don’t. But, that’s a guy that can be had off the discount rack for a million or two, not seven mil. I’m stumped.

      Like

      • And yet the people who write about baseball for a living declared the Mets the big winners at the Winter Meetings.

        And, personally, I’m not sold on either D’Arnaud or Syndergaard. So I should be even less optimistic than you, Mark. Yet I’m not. I see the plan unfolding just as I expected it would. I’m not expecting great things in 2014. I never did. It takes a good five years to build a farm system which has been and should have been priority number one.

        We do have at least one outfielder too many. We currently have four centerfielders on the roster–Young, Grandy, Lagares and Den dekker. To me, I think Den dekker is the best of them. He’s the guy I’d run out there every day. He’s a defensive wiz who gives you 200% every time he’s on the field and I think he improved his hitting considerably this past year. I think the organization has pretty much given up on him, though, which makes him a trading chip. His value would be greater if you played him, but whatever. You’re paying Grandy the big bucks, of course, so he’s probably your centerfielder in 2014. Young probably gets one of the corners. Lagares gets flipped. I don’t see him being on the team this year and I don’t think that much of him anyway (good glove, but I don’t see him ever being a major league threat with the bat). That’s two young guys you can trade.

        Dominic Smith is your first baseman of the future. He’s a couple years away, likely. Either Ike or Duda will be traded. Maybe both. I like Ike, but there are two or three teams (Colorado and Milwaukee to name two) who really like him as well. So Ike has the value, meaning we’re probably keeping Duda for another year. But there are worse scenarios than playing Josh Satin at first every day.

        Sandy’s made it clear he wants a new shortstop. I wish we’d grabbed peralta, but (and here’s where that perception thing really matters) I doubt he’d have signed with the Mets for double what St. Louis is paying him. Drew sucks. I don’t want him. Sandy also said any further changes this off season would likely be via the trade route. There are one or two quality shortstops that could be had through trade. And my favorite wildcard (cause he’s young and he would probably come cheap) is Dee Gordon. If Sandy doesn’t land a shortstop then, for this year, I suspect you’ll see Flores there (which might have fans longing for Tejada–at least defensively). If not, maybe you can flip Flores. Even though it seems like he’s been around forever, he’s only 22.

        As for Colon, lots of teams were willing to pay him $10 mil…for one year. Some were willing to go 11 or 12 mil…for one year. The Mets were the only ones who would go 2 years, which is what it took to get the deal done. The extra year is what landed Grandy, as well. The money would have been the same or better elsewhere. From what I read, $7 mil for Young slots him in at about what any player with his record and salary history would be paid in this year’s market (remember, he made $8.5 last year). That’s what I read.

        And I don’t see Colon as a replacement for Harvey. I more see Wheeler in that role (and Montero or whomever, coming up mid-season, filling Wheeler’s role). Right now, I see Colon as a replacement for Santana–who didn’t even pitch this past year. In any case, he plugs a hole in the rotation. To me, signing Colon lets you keep the kids in the minors for a half year…which I prefer for non-monetary reasons, which allows you space to trade someone (Niese or Gee) mid-season when their value will be high. If you want the kids up now, you can trade Niese or Gee now. And then there’s Mejia. And Torres as a swing man.

        At second, you’ve got Murphy, Flores, EY…you got options. If Murphy’s got value, maybe you trade him.

        In any case, we have options and some flexibility. We’ve had none the last few years. We’re a better team going into 2014 than we were last year. We just are. Not a pennant winning team by any stretch, but better.

        Like

        • Stubby,

          It’s easy to talk now and speculate during the off-season. Let’s see what the press has to say at the end of the year.🙂 Let’s see if they remember what they said four months before the start of season. My guess is that their memories will be very short.

          We disagree on the outfield. Absent any further dealing, Lagares is your starting CF next year. At this stage, among Granderson, Eric Young and Lagares, Lagares is the best of the lot. This is not a glowing endorsement, however. Not even close. Grandy is in left, because Lagares is the better CF, and Young should move to right. At this stage, den Dekker has no trade value. And, for the life of me, I don’t understand the value of Chris Young. As I said, he’s broken .250 only once in his career–prime years, too, when he should have shown more. If the market dictates that Young is a $7 million player, then the market is severely screwed up. And, in Colon’s case, if $20 million is the market value for buying time and filling a roster spot, then the market is even more screwed up.

          Like

  5. Worth noting if you haven’t seen it yet: Forbes reports that Major League Baseball’s revenue for 2013 exceeded $8 billion and could reach $9 billion next year thanks to the national tv deals.

    Major League Baseball payroll totaled $3.35 billion in 2013, somewhere between 39% & 42% of total revenue.

    Seems like there’s enough money going around for players to get their inflated contracts and still leave profits for owners that didn’t saddle themselves with too much debt and too-good-to-be-true investments.

    Like

    • Paul,

      Understood. The owners wouldn’t pay what they couldn’t afford.

      That being said, if I were an owner or GM, Grandy isn’t worth $60 mil, Colon isn’t worth $20 and Chris Young isn’t worth $7 mil. And, quite frankly, I can’t understand the mindset that thinks they are.

      Like

  6. Just to clarify, when I said Young in centerfield, I meant Chris, not Eric. I think EY is as likely to be at second as anything. Lagares may be better in the field, but he can’t hit a lick. He’s either traded. in Vegas (pretty sure he’s still got options), or riding the pine. Collins is talking about a rotation, but I doubt that lasts any longer than Cowgill did.

    If Grandy and CY were Lucas Duda in center, I’d agree with you. But, even as someone who believes in scarificing some wood for strong D up the middle, Grandy and CY are above average in center (even at their ages) and they’ve got much more to offer at the plate than Legares. Even weighting D, Lagares ain’t the guy any more than Pat Howell was (and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better fielding Mets outfielder than Pat Howell).

    Grandy’s getting the dough. He probably gets to play wherever he wants to play. Worth noting that he played center pretty much exclusively until this past year. And that was an injury plagued season. And, even at that, he still played center more than half the time he wasn’t a DH.

    Den dekker may not have any trade value, but I doubt that’s true. He’s still young, bats lefty, is amazing in the field, and plays hard. He’s cheap and he’s not arbitration eligible for a long, long time. Sure, you’re not going to get Matt Kemp for him. But he could be just the kind of extra player that tips the scales towards getting a deal done.

    I think EY gets second base because we don’t have a leadoff hitter who is any better. Murphy’s not bad in that role, but I doubt he’s still with the team come opening day.

    Like

    • Stubby,

      Sorry, but I see as much use/benefit out of Chris Young as the Mets got out of Colin Cowgill. But, at $7 mil, they’ll bleed him dry finding out.

      Lagares? What I said about him wasn’t glowing. But, at this point, with bat combined with defense (and there’s not much of a bat there), he’s the best overall CF the Mets have right now. Yes, until Granderson proves himself after last year (and he wasn’t that good in ’12, either) and Chris Young proves he worth the money, Lagares is the CF.

      Agreed with you somewhat on den Dekker. By himself, he’s not trade bait. As an add-on? Possibly.Remember, he’ll be 26 next year. Yes, he was injured. But his resume consists of just 58 MLB AB and .207 to show for it.

      Eric Young at 2B? Doable. Not sure what value Murphy has. He was a 1B playing out of position. So 1B is possible. But, he’s one-dimensional with a not-too-bad bad, a lousy on base considering the average and a so-so glove. But, hey, there are 29 other teams out there, so surely one might want a guy like him.

      Guys like Ike Davis and Josh Satin have no value. Heck, Satin’s almost 30.

      The Mets aren’t as good as you think they are. There’s no reason they’ll do much better than the 74 wins they had last year.

      Like

%d bloggers like this: