Free Agent Stock Watch: Bartolo Colon

Twelve months ago, Bartolo Colon was nothing more than an afterthought. He didn't pitch at all in 2010, and he hadn't thrown more than 100 innings in a season since winning the Cy Young Award in 2005. At 37 years old and with major arm injuries in his recent past, it wasn't unreasonable to think Colon was finished as a Major Leaguer.

The Yankees rolled the dice after losing out on Cliff Lee last offseason, signing Colon to a minor league deal in late-January. Bench coach Tony Pena had managed him in winter ball, and recommended him to New York's front office. Colon rewarded the team's faith in him by throwing 164 1/3 innings across 26 starts and three relief appearances, finishing with a 4.00 ERA and the tenth best K/BB ratio (3.38) among qualified AL pitchers.

In a free agent class lacking impact starters, Colon ranked 27th on Tim Dierkes' list of the top 50 free agents. That was ten spots ahead of his teammate Freddy Garcia, who just re-upped with the Yankees for one-year and $4MM plus incentives. Garcia threw fewer innings than Colon last year (146 2/3) but also posted a lower ERA (3.62). He also stayed relatively healthy while Colon missed close to a month with a hamstring strain and saw his velocity drop late in the season.

After settling for a $900K base salary last season, Colon will almost assuredly get a raise this winter. A two-year deal is unlikely, but like Garcia he could get $3-4MM guaranteed with incentives. Tim predicted that the Red Sox would sign Colon to stablize the back of their rotation, but a number of teams could show interest, and a reunion with the Yankees is always possible.


40 Responses to Free Agent Stock Watch: Bartolo Colon Leave a Reply

  1. Would like to see him back with the yankees.

  2. UltimateYankeeFan 4 years ago

    Don’t think a reunion with the Yankees is in the cards this year.  He far and exceeded expectations in 2011 but there comes a time when it’s best to move on.

    • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

      And what’s the reason for moving on? He’s not going to be expensive and won’t command more than a 1 year deal.

      It kills me (not directed at you) how easily ppl overlook his season.

      He had a 3.83 FIP, KO’s @ a nice 7.4/9, kept his walks down to a 2.2/9 clip and induced a fair amount of GB’s @ 44%.

      Yes…he had a bumpy 2nd half but it’s not like it’s unexplainable.

      He had a hamstring injury, threw 164 innings not including the spring training and winter ball innings. And I guarantee you those offseason/ST innings were not in the “get in game condition” variety but in the “balls all out I’m trying to impress people” variety. His 164 IP in the majors alone was more than what he threw in the majors or minors from 2008-2010 combined.

      His arm was probably tired and his hamstring and conditioning slowed him down. Even still…of the 16 starts he made after coming back from the injury 9 of his starts were decent, 1 was rain shortened and the others were forgettable. Even some of the bad starts were just a bunch of GB’s that found holes.

      I would love to have him back for 1/$3-$5 mil if we don’t acquire a #2.

      • UltimateYankeeFan 4 years ago

        YanksFanSince78, I understand where you are coming from.  But when I read your reply whether intentionally or not in my opinion have stated all the reasons to move on.  Look at all the excuses you gave for his lackluster 2nd half performance (hamstring, winter ball innings, conditioning, his arm got tired) add to that he will be 39 2 months into the 2012 season.  In my opinion anytime someone has to make that many excuses for someone’s performance at 39 years of age it’s time to “move on”. 
        There are other reasons also in my opinion.  Least of which now with the signing of Garcia the the Yankees have the 5 starters they most likely will start the season with (CC, Nova, AJ, Hughes and Garcia).  Cashman has also stated several times this off season that he wants to give Noesi, Mitchell and Phelps as shot at making the rotation.  The Yankees need a #2 to slot in behind CC they don’t need in my opinion any more pitchers at the “back end” of the starting rotation which is all Colon would be if the Yankees resigned him this year.

        • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

          To each his own but I think the fact that he pitched 164 innings, and another 50 or so innings in winterball and spring training is a SUPREMELY valid reason why he might’ve been a little tired towards the end of the season. It would apply to a rookie pitcher who pitches 50 more innings than he did the year before so why would it be invalid for a 38 yo pitcher?

          If Colon were willing to come back on a 1 year deal and as long as it didn’t hamper the rebuilding of Hughes then what’s the big deal? Last year proved that you can never have enough pitching.

          • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

            Even if it’s not the Yankees I think it would be wise for at least 15 of the teams out there to be in on him if he’s willing to sign a 1 year deal around $3 mil with innings and health incentives.

          • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

            But then again, and this is a total contradiction of what I just said (haha), we do have a very loaded AAA team of guys that are mlb ready in Warren, Phelps, Mitchell, Noesi and Brackman (if he ever finds the strike zone again). 

          • jjs91 4 years ago

            3 million is still a good deal and if they sign him to a long deliver again,noesi will be able to begin the yr in aaa.though Kontos can probably be a long reliever.

          • UltimateYankeeFan 4 years ago

            Brackman was released by the Yankees a month or so back.  He’s not on the roster any longer.  There are only 2 Killer B’s now Banuelos and Betances.

            But I do agree with you about Colon hooking up with one of the “other” Major League Teams.  Like I said before it’s time to give the young arms at least a shot at the Big League Team and possibly starting or the bullpen.

          • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

            Yeah my bad. The Brackman era appears to be over unless they can work out a deal with him. I still think he has potential, he just has to figure out his mechanics.

  3. I could see him on the Rangers in their bullpen. But my guess is he lands up on the White Sox. Kenny Williams would love him!

  4. randomkeys 4 years ago

    First 14 games (11 starts): 6-3, 2.88 ERA (84.1 IP), .227 BA against, .636 OPS against, 78K/18BB

    Last 15 games (15 starts): 2-7, 5.18 ERA (80.0 IP), .306 BA against, .859 OPS again, 57K/22BB

    I never fully bought into the Colon magic in the first half of last year. I just kept waiting for him to turn into the pitcher that hadn’t gotten a lot of interest since ’05. And then he became just that guy.

    I wouldn’t offer him more than $1.5MM with incentives on a one-year deal. Anything more is paying him for the success he had with the Yankees, which seems foolish to me. Three months of good pitching doesn’t erase five years of being pretty mediocre.

    • Slopeboy 4 years ago

      You make a great point. Still I would take a chance if I could not get anything reasonable in terms of money or performance on the FA market. Part of Colon’s problem was that he ran out of gas in the second half of the season.

      Keep in mind that he had pitched during the winter and came into the regular season overweight. By late July, he had already pitched a complete season, for all intent and purposes. One would think that the time lost to the hamstring injury would serve to help,but it did not. I suspect it had to do with fatigue. 

      I can envision him getting a few offers with guaranteed money and pitching better than last season if he comes to ST in lighter condition then last year.

      • randomkeys 4 years ago

        Yes, winter ball, and yes, injury… But also — he’s 38. He’s never been in great physical shape. Most of his career was being above average (though never brilliant), with a decent K/BB rate and an ERA just below 4.

        While I understand that some GMs will hope for a repeat of his April/May/June ’11 work, I personally would expect less. And all that said — I hope he comes back, and I hope he plays great. That’s always fun to watch. :)

    • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

      I feel like I’m Colon’s agent.

      Reasons why teams should be in on Colon.

      a) He’s going to sign a cheap and short-term deal (around 1/$3 mil w/ incentives).

      b) He finished with a 3.83 FIP, 3.57 xFIP and 2.9 WAR pitching in the AL East. 

      c) He had a 3.38 FIP/3.36 xFIP away from Yankee stadium.

      d) He had one really bad month (August/4.95 FIP) and one “eh” month (Sep/Oct-4.39 FIP).

      e) His highest xFIP for any month this season was a 4.01 xFIP in August. Everything else was below 4.00.

      f) His BaBIP for the year was 3.05 so he wasn’t lucky per se.

  5. Colon will be a Blue Jay or Tiger

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      I’d say the chance that he’s a blue jay is next to .01%

  6. YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

    The big difference is that Garcia is more of a pitcher than Colon is now. Colon, when his FB is right and he’s following Martin’s game plan, is a pleasure to watch though. If he’s healthy I think he can be a solid pitcher again next year.

  7. NYPOTENCE 4 years ago

    Would sign him to be a reliever this way he would be able to last the entire season and be very effective.

  8. Madraider 4 years ago

    I don’t see him going back to the Red Sox, especially since he literally disappeared on them two years ago.

  9. BLEACHER_CREATURD 4 years ago

    Offer him 5 million dollars and tell him he needs to lose 50lbs by spring training. Have it in his contract for every 5lbs he gains he loses $500k off his contract.

  10. Jesse Heiman 4 years ago

    Twins should sign

  11. slider32 4 years ago

    Yanks decided to take either Colon or Garcia, and chose Garcia because he was healthy and younger. I’ve got Colon going to the Pirates or Cleveland, two up and coming teams that need cheap pitching. Colon gets over 3 million unless the Sox want him. They like those X successfull Yankee pitchers like Ace.

    • UltimateYankeeFan 4 years ago

      Don’t be surprised if you see Colon in a Red Sox uniform to start the season.  He would be an ideal candidate to replace Dice K until he comes back from Tommy John Surgery around the All Star Break.  He’ll be relatively cheap and he’ll give them the innings they need until then.

      • nictonjr 4 years ago

         He seems to be a perfect fit for the Angels.  Great pitchers park.  Only Texas has any kind of offense in the West.  A perfect 4th starter behind Weaver, Haren and Santana…

        • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

          I think the Reds would be a good fit. It is a hitters park but so long as he keeps the ball on the ground (45% GB last year) then the infield defense is good enough to gobble them up. They need some pitching and he should be relatively cheep in case they fall short of shoring up the front end of the rotation. 

          I would wonder if the Yanks could do a sign and trade?

          Sign Colon to something like 1/$3 mil and trade him and $2 mil cash along with Dave Adams and Brandon Laird for Edison Volquez? 

          Laird is mlb ready and I think Adams, if healthy, is going to be a solid mlb 2b capable of producing a .285/.350/.425 slash line. He’s a doubles machine. With Rolen and Phillips free agents in 2012 and Hamilton a couple of years away it would give the Reds more options. Yanks get Volquez for 2 years and maybe can figure his situation out?

  12. MNTwins12 4 years ago

    I think Bartolo Colon would be a wise choice for the Twins to sign, although there is about 10 pitchers I would choose before Colon if I were the Twins. 

  13. BLEACHER_CREATURD 4 years ago

    Yeah, I don’t think Cashman gambles millions on him again.

  14. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    you can never have too many arms.  if the cost is affordable, stockpiling inning eaters is never a bad thing

  15. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    signing colon shouldn’t halt the team from pulling a trade if one makes sense.

    I cant see Cashman going, well Gio gonzalez is available for a decent package, but he’s blocked by colon….

    The reality is that pitchers are prone to injuries, no team goes through the year with 5 starters, usually takes 7 or 8 depending.

  16. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    he’ll get half of that.

  17. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

     ok so you don’t sign colon, you trade prospects for gonzalez and then burnette and hughes hit the DL, then what?

  18. YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

    I don’t think either would be difficult to move if we picked up a bigger starter this winter. Who wouldn’t take a chance on either on a 1 year deal for a minor prospect? 

  19. slider32 4 years ago

    HOLY COW, EAT MORE CHICKEN!

  20. slider32 4 years ago

    It’s unlikely that Burnett hits the DL, he’s been very healthy in his career. That’s the biggest plus with AJ, he gives you innings.

  21. Rabbitov 4 years ago

    You are terrifying. 

  22. YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

    Really? AJ has been healthy during his YANKEE career but not so much before. I honestly think that if the Yanks picked up a TOR pitcher that Cashman might honestly be motivated to trade AJ for a bad contract swap or eat a $15 mil poop sandwich to move him.

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