Bartolo Colon Rumors
Here's the latest from both the Athletics and Giants...
- The A's are scheduled to meet with Adam Katz, Bartolo Colon's agent, this week to discuss a one-year deal for the veteran righty, CSNBayArea.com's Joe Stiglich reports. Colon has shown an interest in returning to Oakland but a number of teams would be interested on Colon for just a one-year commitment.
- Also from Stiglich, he wonders if Alberto Callaspo could be expendable now that Nick Punto has been signed to increase the Athletics' infield depth. Callaspo is set to platoon with Eric Sogard at second base next season, but Callaspo's salary ($4.875MM) is a high one for the payroll-conscious A's.
- Bronson Arroyo has been linked to the Giants in trade rumors, so CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly breaks down the pros and cons of an Arroyo signing for San Francisco.
- The Giants are "continuing a dialog" with Ryan Vogelsong's representatives, assistant GM Bobby Evans tells Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).
Clayton Kershaw told Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (on Twitter) his contract negotiations with the Dodgers aren't on hold, but they've haven't resumed since the season ended. Kershaw reportedly turned down a $300MM extension offer from the Dodgers earlier this year due to concerns about the length and size of the deal. While it has been assumed that Kershaw will extend his deal with the Dodgers, the baseball world will surely be paying attention to what will likely be the largest contract ever issued to a pitcher.
Here's the latest from both Los Angeles teams...
- "I think, for us, it wouldn't surprise me if we went [through] the winter without a huge move; not that it couldn't happen," Dodgers president Stan Kasten tells MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. "We are looking more at deepening the organization, to fine-tune it and get into the season and see what we need. Having said that, I'm not ruling anything out. But those people who attach us to every free agent out there are making it up." With Kasten prioritizing the Dodgers' farm system, Gurnick finds it unlikely that the club would move what few top prospects it has in a trade for David Price.
- Also from Gurnick, the Dodgers "are kicking the tires" on such free agent pitchers as Ervin Santana, Matt Garza, Hiroki Kuroda, Ubaldo Jimenez, Bartolo Colon and Bronson Arroyo. Given the big salaries some of these pitchers are demanding, you wonder if L.A. would really make a move to sign any given Kasten's earlier comments, though Kuroda, Colon and Arroyo could be had on less expensive, shorter-term deals.
- The Angels aren't one of the teams who have made an offer to Ricky Nolasco, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports (via Twitter). Nolasco is reportedly juggling several three- or four-year contracts offers.
- The rumored discord between Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia could have led to one or both men being fired following the Angels' disappointing season, but Dipoto tells FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi and he and the long-time Halos manager have improved their communication and are on the same page.
- From that same piece, Dipoto reiterated that pitching will be the central focus of the Angels' offseason: "Frankly, we’ve been focused on [pitching] for a couple years and it’s eluded us. We plan on putting our resources toward improving those areas. On the field, that’s where our biggest changes are going to come.”
- The Angels' defense took a sharp decline from 2012 to 2013, and ESPN's David Schoenfeld thinks that the club should hold onto Peter Bourjos as a way of improving their fielding. Schoenfeld also suggests signing Jhonny Peralta, trading Mark Trumbo and acquiring Felix Doubront from the Red Sox.
MLBTR's Zach Links contributed to this post
David Price's trade value may never be higher than it is right now, ESPN's Buster Olney argues, so the Rays may have to quell their competitive instincts and deal the ace southpaw even if they "aren't completely sold" on offers they receive before the year is out. Olney covers several other topics in his Insider-only piece, such as how quality relievers such as Joe Smith or J.P. Howell could command three-year contracts worth $12MM-$18MM this winter. Here's more from Olney...
- Despite Bartolo Colon's good numbers in 2013, Olney says (in a video blog) that there isn't a strong market for his services since executives simply don't know what to expect from the soft-tossing 40-year-old. Olney thinks Colon will find a one-year, $10MM-$12MM deal for 2014, similar to what MLBTR's Steve Adams predicts. Despite the mutual interest between Colon and the Athletics, however, Olney predicts Colon will sign with a big-market team.
- Some agents believe there will be "a notable spike in salaries this winter," Olney tweets.
- In an appearance on WEEI Radio's Mut & Merloni Show on Wednesday (WEEI.com's Jackson Alexander has a partial transcript), Olney said that if the Red Sox make Brian McCann a competitive offer, McCann would consider taking slightly less money since he's a good fit in their clubhouse atmosphere.
- Also from the radio interview, Olney thinks "the smart play" for Stephen Drew would be to accept Boston's $14.1MM qualifying offer. I'm not sure I agree with Olney, as while Drew couldn't find a $14.1MM average annual salary on the open market, he'd surely find a multiyear contract. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes thinks Drew can find a four-year, $48MM deal this winter.
- Olney also thinks the Mariners will try "to change the conversation" about their franchise by making a major offer to Jacoby Ellsbury.
A stem cell injection into Bartolo Colon's right shoulder helped to reinvigorate his career with the Yankees in 2011, but the merits of that procedure were called into question a bit by a 50-game suspension for elevated testosterone levels last August. Colon will turn 41 next May, but he still feels that he can pitch another three years, and his 2013 results suggest that it's certainly possible.
Colon's ERA has dropped in each season since his 2011 comeback, and while critics will instantly leap to make PED allegations, he didn't have a positive test in 2013 -- a season in which he was better than he was in 2012 when he failed a drug test.
Colon's strikeouts and 93 mph heater seem to be a thing of the past (though he saw a notable uptick toward season's end), but he now boasts some of the best command among all Major League starters. Only Cliff Lee, David Price and Adam Wainwright averaged fewer walks per nine innings this season, and no free agent starter was able to match his precision. In fact, over the past two seasons -- a span in which he's thrown 342 2/3 innings -- Lee is the only starter in all of baseball with a lower BB/9 rate than Colon.
A great deal of Colon's success comes from the fact that he pounds the strike zone to get ahead in the count. Ervin Santana, Dan Haren and Bronson Arroyo are the only free agents that threw a first-pitch strike more often than Colon this season. As such, he's able to keep his pitch count down and work deep into games; he's averaged more than 6 1/3 innings per start since Opening Day 2012.
Many will assume that the spacious O.Co Coliseum is the reason for his success, but Colon's 2.95 road ERA since 2012 is actually better than his 3.03 ERA at home. Colon comes with quite a bit of postseason experience, having pitched to a 3.70 ERA over 58 1/3 innings in 10 career playoff starts.
Colon didn't receive a qualifying offer from the A's, so adding his veteran presence and postseason experience to a team won't cost a draft pick.
Colon's fastball averaged just 89.9 mph this season, and he's managed just 5.5 K/9 in his two years with the A's. Would he be so effective if his heater continued its current downward trajectory? Loss of velocity on his fastball would seem to be particularly damaging to Colon, as he throws roughly 85 percent fastballs. PITCHf/x tells us that 47 percent of those fastballs are two-seamers, so perhaps it's deliberate, as his four-seamer has remained constant at 91.2 mph.
Colon's conditioning will likely be called into question. He's listed at 5'11" and 265 pounds, which will certainly be a red flag for some teams. Whether or not the two are related, Colon has had a 15-day DL stint in each of the past two seasons, and he hasn't topped 200 innings since 2005.
Colon's ERA has been outstanding, but it's also been propped up by a 7.4% HR/FB ratio over the past two seasons. His xFIP -- FIP adjusted with a league-average HR/FB -- over that same time is a more pedestrian 4.04. Colon's career 10.2% HR/FB is roughly league average, so it's fair to wonder if he can continue limiting homers at such a high rate.
Colon comes with a bit of baggage in the form of his PED suspension, but that hasn't changed how he's viewed by teammates, managers and front office officials. Colon is very well-regarded and well-liked in clubhouses, as evidenced by the fact that Oakland welcomed him back with open arms following last year's suspension.
Colon is married with three sons and is active in the community. He's made contributions to the American Red Cross to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina and also has funded the construction of baseball fields in his hometown of Altamira in the Dominican Republic, per the A's media guide. Baseball runs in his family, as his brother, Jose, pitched in the Indians system but didn't reach the Majors.
There's mutual interest between the A's and Colon in a reunion for the 2014 season, and he's recently gone on record as stating that he feels he can pitch as many as three more years at the big league level. If he's open to another one-year deal, Colon and agent Adam Katz of the Wasserman Media Group will have no shortage of teams calling up this winter.
Most players coming off brilliant seasons in the late stages of their careers prefer to sign with a contender, and there's no reason to expect anything different from Colon. In addition to the A's, the Pirates, Nationals, Yankees, Orioles, Indians and Royals could all show interest.
Colon may think he can pitch for three more seasons, but at this point it seems that he'd be hard-pressed to find a team willing to guarantee him multiple years. Multiyear deals for starters on the wrong side of 40 are of the utmost rarity. R.A. Dickey managed a multiyear pact that guaranteed him $12MM in his age-40 season with an identical option for his age-41 campaign, but he did so as a knuckleballer coming off an improbable Cy Young Award, so he doesn't compare that well to Colon.
The previous contract negotiated by Katz contained a $3MM base salary plus $200K for 10, 15, 17, 20, 22 and 25 starts as well as $200K for 140, 150, 160, 170, 180 and 190 innings. Colon hit each of those levels in 2013, totaling a $5.4MM salary.
Coming off a brilliant season without the doubt of a suspension tied to his name, Colon figures to receive a significantly larger salary. He should be compensated more handsomely than reclamation projects like Phil Hughes and Josh Johnson, even if each is significantly younger. My expectation is that Colon can find a one-year, $10MM contract with incentives that can push the total value into the $12MM range.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Athletics have announced that they will not extend qualifying offers to free agents Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour. Neither player will require a new team to sacrifice a draft pick this winter. The move isn't surprising, given the $14.1MM value of a qualifying offer.
Colon would've been more likely to earn a qualifying offer than Balfour. The 40-year-old enjoyed a dominant season in which he pitched to a 2.65 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 190 1/3 innings for the A's. Colon earned a $3MM base salary and totaled another $2.4MM via incentives for games started and innings pitched, so the $14.1MM value would've been a substantial increase over his 2013 salary. Still, he projects to earn a healthy increase from that $5.4MM total on the open market. Colon and the A's have expressed mutual interest, and Colon feels that he can pitch for another three seasons.
Balfour, 36 in December, saved 38 games for the A's in 2013 en route to a sparkling 2.59 ERA with 10.3 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9, earning his first All-Star berth in the process. I pegged his open-market value at $18MM over two years in my free agent profile of Balfour, though that should come with the caveat that there are more closers than jobs availble this winter. If he's left standing in January, Balfour won't be able to land that type of cash, so it would behoove him and agent Keith Miller of ACES to find a deal early on in the free agent process.
United States Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur is considering an order to allow the Astros (and the Houston Rockets) to negotiate with other parties to see if another business model with a new partner could make a Houston sports network profitable, according to David Barron of the Houston Chronicle. Those partners include FOX Sports, and Astros owner Jim Crane disclosed in the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings for CSN Houston that he spoke with FOX executives earlier in the year about returning to FOX Sports Southwest. Crane has previously expressed concern about CSN Houston's impact on his team's ability to compete within the division. Here's more out of the AL West...
- There's mutual interest between the Athletics and Bartolo Colon, agent Adam Katz told Joe Stiglich of CSN California. Colon "loved his time" with the A's and would be open should they wish to make an offer, Stiglich elaborates (Twitter links). Colon recently told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he thinks he can pitch three more seasons.
- Speaking of Slusser, her latest column has a host of info on the decisions facing the A's early in the offseason. A qualifying offer seems too steep a price for Oakland to offer Colon, though she feels that he's likely to seek a deal similar to the one-year, $15MM contract Hiroki Kuroda signed this past offseason. Echoing earlier reports, Slusser feels that Grant Balfour is likely to leave as a free agent.
- MLB.com's Greg Johns looks at the unlikely path that right-hander Danny Farquhar took to become the Mariners closer. The 26-year-old went from the Blue Jays to the A's to the Yankees to the Mariners in a span of 12 months and entered 2013 as an afterthought before finishing the regular season with one of the most dominant stretches of any AL reliever this year.
Earlier today, Bartolo Colon told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he'd like to return to the A's next season and feels that he could pitch another three years in the Majors. At the time, it wasn't known if the A's were interested in a reunion, but in their postseason address to the media, both manager Bob Melvin and GM Billy Beane said they are interested in bringing Colon back for a third season (via Slusser and John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group on Twitter). Beane went so far as to say it'd be "foolish" for the team not to be interested. Here's more from on the A's...
- Closer Grant Balfour isn't satisfied with only making the playoffs, he told reporters, including MLB.com's Jane Lee. Balfour said he intends to keep playing until he can win a World Series (Twitter link).
- Balfour also acknowledged to CSNBayArea.com's Casey Pratt that he wanted to make sure the inning he pitched in Game 5 last night was a good one, because he knew it may have been his last frame with the team (also on Twitter).
- Melvin said today that the A's are well-equipped to handle the potential loss of Balfour, as internal options Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle could take over as closer (via CSN California's Joe Stiglich on Twitter). As Stiglich goes on to caution, that comment doesn't mean Doolittle or Cook will close in 2014. The A's would likely explore the free agent relief market in that scenario for an additional arm to plug into the mix.
- Beane said that the A's will exercise Coco Crisp's $7.5MM option following the season and implied that they will do the same with Brett Anderson's $8MM option (via Slusser).
- Crisp said that he'd like to think the A's would want to discuss retaining him beyond the 2014 season (via Hickey).
- Top prospect Addison Russell will open 2014 at Double-A "at the lowest," according to Beane, who then added that "anything can happen" once a player reaches Double-A (Stiglich reporting).
- Beane feels that if Chris Young, whose contract contains an $11MM club option, doesn't return to the team, Michael Choice can serve as a right-handed outfielder for the team (Lee reporting). It seems logical that the A's would decline the option after Young batted just .200/.280/.379 this season.
Since reviving his career with the Yankees in 2011, Bartolo Colon has only gotten better, and the right-hander tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he feels he can pitch for another three seasons. Colon added that if the A's are interested, he would like to return to Oakland for a third season (Twitter links).
Despite pitching most of the season at age 40, Colon enjoyed his finest season since 2005 with the Angels. Colon totaled 190 1/3 innings of 2.65 ERA ball, averaging 5.5 strikeouts and 1.4 walks per nine innings pitched with a 41.5 percent ground-ball rate. Colon's success is particularly intriguing given the fact that 85 percent of his pitches were either two-seam or four-seam fastballs.
Colon was mostly an afterthought from 2006-10 as he battled a host of shoulder and elbow injuries, but he underwent a stem cell treatment in the Dominican Republic in which doctors took fatty tissue and bone marrow from his hip and injected it into his ailing rotator cuff. Since then he's also been linked to PEDs, though he served a 50-game suspension last season, making it hard to imagine that he was using again in his superior 2013 campaign.
Colon earned just a $3MM base salary this year, though his contract reportedly contained incentives that could allow him to reach $5MM. Another one-year deal seems plausible as he enters his age-41 season, though his successful 2013 has likely earned him a raise. The A's are rich in young rotation options with the likes of Jarrod Parker, Sonny Gray, A.J. Griffin, Tommy Milone, Brett Anderson and Dan Straily, so it's unclear at this time whether retaining Colon's veteran presence will be of interest to general manager Billy Beane.
On this day in 2007, Terry Ryan announced that he would step aside from his post as the Twins general manager at the end of the season. As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted, Ryan's history was checkered at best at the time. Of course, as a read through this site's most recent post would indicate, Ryan is now back at the helm. Though the team has yet to post more than seventy wins in a season since Ryan returned in November of 2011, Minnesota stands at 15th in ESPN's latest future power rankings on the strength of its minor league system. While Ryan has long been said to have his job as long as he wants to keep it, some other GMs may not be so lucky ...
- There are four general managers around the league who could soon be replaced, writes Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com. According to Gammons, two of those -- Jerry Dipoto of the Angels and Larry Beinfest of the Marlins -- have arguably been undone by meddling owners. (Gammons cites Arte Moreno's $365MM investment in Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, and Jeffrey Loria's propensity for "whimsically run[ning] everything.") Meanwhile, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik may not survive to see whether the team's top young pitching talent can drive a winner. And Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd -- the game's fourth-longest tenured GM -- has yet to figure out how to craft a squad that can win away from Coors field. (For what it's worth, O'Dowd was in charge for the franchise's lone season with a winning road record, when it posted a 41-40 mark in 2009.)
- It would be ridiculous to consider Rangers GM Jon Daniels among those at risk, writes Baseball Nation's Grant Brisbee. While he surely could have sacrificed future value to win at all costs this season, says Brisbee, Daniels was prudent not to and still delivered a team that should qualify for the post-season.
- Teams must determine whether to make outgoing free agents a qualifying offer just five days after the conclusion of this year's World Series, and those decisions will play a major role in setting the stage for the 2014 free agent market. For non-obvious candidates, writes Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, an important part of the equation lies in valuing the compensation pick that the team would receive if the player declines the offer and then signs with another club. Working off of a rough valuation of international signing slot dollars, Cameron opines that teams could value the dollars spent on a comp pick as much as three-to-four times higher than money the team could spend outside the draft. As he explains, this would imply that there is substantial excess value in obtaining non-marketable draft picks, which could move the needle in favor of making qualifying offers in marginal situations.
- As we prepare to weigh a new class of free agents, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman ranks the best signings of 2013. His top three are a collection of veterans whose contributions have vastly outweighed the relatively meager financial commitments that they received: Pirates starter Francisco Liriano, Red Sox reliever Koji Uehara, and Athletics starter Bartolo Colon. Next on his list is Boston's David Ortiz, who as Heyman notes was the only player to accept a qualifying offer in the first year of the system.
Alex Rodriguez and 12 other players will be suspended for their involvement with Biogenesis, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Earlier today, we learned Rodriguez is to be suspended through the 2014 season and Heyman names Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, and Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli among the Major League players also expected to be suspended, as well as minor leaguers Fernando Martinez, Jordan Norberto, Fautino de los Santos, and Cesar Puello. Heyman adds there are also three players on the suspension list whose names have yet to become public.
Heyman writes Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, A's right-hander Bartolo Colon, and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal will not be suspended in connection with Biogenesis, as they have served 50-game penalties already.
All or almost all of the other 12 players are expected to accept 50-game suspensions, though there could be an additional holdout or two for appeal beyond Rodriguez, reports Heyman. All the players have the option to appeal, but it is believed close to all of them have made agreements for 50-game bans with MLB, Heyman adds. Players who appeal are eligible to keep playing until their case is heard.
Cruz told reporters, including MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, "I haven't decided what I'm going to do about anything. It's not just about myself, it's also about the team." Today is the 112th game played by the Rangers, so Cruz would be eligible to return for the playoffs (assuming Texas reaches the post-season), if he serves a 50-game suspension beginning Monday. Sullivan surmises the Rangers will recall an outfielder from the minors adding Manny Ramirez is not an option and manager Ron Washington is reluctant to use Jurickson Profar in the outfield. Regardless of what the Rangers end up doing, assistant GM Thad Levine acknowledges, "At this stage of the season, that's a difficult bat to replace."