Bartolo Colon Rumors
Most of the top available starting pitchers currently play in the National League, but there’s still lots of trade talk in the AL this summer. Buster Olney provides updates on the junior circuit trade market in today’s column at ESPN.com. Here are some highlights:
- The Mariners won’t trade Felix Hernandez, but Kevin Millwood, Chone Figgins, Jason Vargas and Brandon League could be dealt.
- The Red Sox have focused on adding starting pitching. Some executives believe the Rangers will make a big play for the best starting pitchers available.
- Meanwhile, the White Sox have been asking around about relievers.
- Teams have called about Seth Smith, but the Athletics will keep him. However, Kurt Suzuki could be available and the A’s will listen to offers for Brandon McCarthy, Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour.
- The Indians figure to pursue right-handed bats and Carlos Quentin could be an option in Cleveland, Olney writes.
- The Blue Jays plan to assess their chances at the All-Star break, and some rival officials expect Toronto to sell.
- The Orioles need pitching, but Olney doesn’t expect the team to make a major addition. Similarly, the Twins figure to seek pitching in any midseason trades they consider.
- Here’s MLBTR’s recap of Olney’s look at the NL trade market.
It’s still a little early for struggling teams to acknowledge to fans that it’s time to start looking ahead to 2013 and beyond, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. As a result the trade market remains relatively quiet. Here are some of Olney’s notes on team needs and possible deals:
- The Red Sox are now focused on adding starting pitching.
- The Athletics are ready to talk trades now, so Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour and Bartolo Colon are available.
- General managers are impressed by Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, just like everyone else. One GM told Olney Trout’s faster than Rickey Henderson. "He just rockets around the bases; you don't find players that skilled," the GM said. “They're all tooled-up, and they know how to play," another GM said in reference to the pair of young stars.
- Rival executives view Justin Morneau as a tremendously risky trade target because of his $14MM salary and history with concussions (Twitter link).
- Olney had more details on the trade market last night.
The Athletics and Bartolo Colon have agreed to a one-year contract, the team announced. MLB.com's Joey Nowak reports that the deal is worth nearly $2MM and could include a signing bonus. The Diamondbacks had shown interest in Colon recently, and the Yankees indicated a willingness to re-sign him earlier this winter.
A client of Adam Katz at Wasserman Media Group, Bartolo resurrected his career with New York in 2011, pitching to a 4.00 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 164 1/3 innings after signing a minor league contract. The 38-year-old Colon did not pitch in MLB in 2010, and has been treated with stem cells from his bone marrow and fat to repair tears in his elbow and rotator cuff. He was regularly hitting 94-96 with his fastball last year before fading down the stretch.
Having traded both Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill this offseason, the Athletics are looking at Colon as a stopgap for a rotation that will also include Brandon McCarthy, and possibly a healthy Dallas Braden. Brett Anderson will be out until midseason due to Tommy John surgery, though the recently acquired Jarrod Parker, Tom Milone, and Brad Peacock will all make their case for a starting spot in Spring Training.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale first reported that Colon had agreed to a deal with an unknown team, then later added details along with CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (all Twitter links). ESPN's Jayson Stark first reported the Athletics' involvement.
One year ago today, the Rockies re-signed Jason Giambi to serve as their backup first baseman and primary pinch-hitter. Here's the latest out of the NL West...
- The Padres and Cameron Maybin had tabled contract extension talks for now, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter). Maybin recently changed agents and the two sides haven't made any progress.
- Although they are just about done with their 40-man roster moves, Dan Hayes of the North County Times hears that the Padres have room for one more "protection" starting pitcher (Twitter link).
- Giants executive Bobby Evans told John Shea of The San Francisco Chronicle that the team's five starters are in place (Twitter link). Evans also mentioned Gregor Blanco as possible outfield depth.
- The Diamondbacks thought they had a deal in place with Bartolo Colon before he signed with the Athletics, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider req'd). Arizona ended up signing Joe Saunders today.
The 38-year-old right-hander turned in a 4.00 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 for the Yankees in 2011. General Manager Brian Cashman expressed interest in bringing the veteran back this offseason, but the club's moves this week might satisfy their need for pitching.
Last night's news was highlighted by the Yankees' signing of Hiroki Kuroda and the four-player trade that sent Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Mariners in exchange for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that it might not be until next week that the trade is announced (as teams wait for completion of physicals), and opines that it may be the Blue Jays who are hurt most by this trade, as their rotation once again looks too thin to compete in the AL East. Here's a look at the highlights from Olney's latest blog (ESPN Insider required)...
- Both the Yankees and Mariners believe that Montero will be able to stick at catcher, which many in the industry feel is a must in order for the trade to make sense for Seattle.
- One executive posed the question: "Why is Yoenis Cespedes playing in any Winter ball games?" Olney says Cespedes' first few games have looked rough, as he hasn't played for a long time. With questions about his ability to pick up a breaking ball, he could potentially hurt his value with a poor showing, and doesn't stand to gain much if he plays well.
- The Indians seem to be in position to land a good first baseman, writes Olney. Casey Kotchman, Carlos Pena, and Derrek Lee all remain unsigned, and if the Nationals sign Prince Fielder, Adam LaRoche will become available as well. Olney points out that all four are regarded as good fielders, which is crucial to Cleveland's groundball staff (Justin Masterson, Derek Lowe, and Fausto Carmona are all extreme groundball pitchers). Olney writes that there were indications earlier this offseason that Lee did not want to play for the Tribe.
- With the Diamondbacks showing interest in Bartolo Colon, GM Kevin Towers, who spent a year working for the Yankees, will "presumably get an honest read about what [the Yankees] feel Colon could contribute."
The Diamondbacks are showing interest in free agent starter Bartolo Colon, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark tweets. Mitch Frankel represents the veteran right-hander, who could also be an option for the Yankees.
Colon posted a 4.00 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 164 1/3 innings with the Yankees in 2011. The 38-year-old signed a minor league deal with New York last offseason and thrived at the back of the team's rotation, especially early on in the season. Colon, who didn't pitch in MLB in 2010, has been treated with stem cells from his bone marrow and fat to repair tears in his elbow and rotator cuff.
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.
A few items of note from around the Northeast Corridor ...
- The Yankees have contacted the agent for free agent starters Roy Oswalt and C.J. Wilson, according to Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger. Bombers GM Brian Cashman, however, cautioned that he's "in the process of talking to everybody." Oswalt and Wilson are both represented by Bob Garber of Select Sports Group, as our Agency Database shows.
- As well, Cashman has already communicated with free agent starter Freddy Garcia's representatives, according to Carig, and the parties are mutually interested in seeing the veteran right-hander in the Bronx again in 2012. Cashman also expressed interest in bringing back reserve infield Eric Chavez, backup outfielder Andruw Jones and right-hander Bartolo Colon.
- The Phillies have had discussions with free agent closer Ryan Madson, Madson's agent Scott Boras tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Boras termed the talks with the Phillies as "good dialogue" and said Madson is receiving a lot of interest - even from clubs that weren't thought to be in need of a closer.
- Newest Phillie Jim Thome is good friends with former Twins teammate Michael Cuddyer, whom the Phillies are seriously pursuing, so Thome could help recruit Cuddyer to Philly, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. "We've texted a little bit," Thome said. "We've talked." ... "I'm sure we will talk going forward."
- The Mets will refrain from doling out potentially crippling contracts under GM Sandy Alderson, but they shouldn't draw that line in dealing with their homegrown star Jose Reyes, opines Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Writes Rubin: "If the ultimate verdict with Reyes is a calculated baseball decision, so be it. But shame on the Mets if he departs and it is primarily payroll-constraint induced."
With a month and a half remaining in the regular season, Joel Sherman of the New York Post takes a look at a few subplots facing the Yankees as they prepare for the playoffs and the subsequent offseason. Let's check out the highlights....
- Nick Swisher's OPS sat at .649 heading into June, but he's posted a .941 mark since then. Given his improved play, the Yankees will likely view his $10.25MM option for next year as reasonably priced, and bring him back.
- It's nearly a certainty that C.C. Sabathia exercises his opt-out at season's end. Sherman sees the 31-year-old asking for a raise, from the four years and $92MM he'll have left, to no less than the seven years and $161MM he originally signed for.
- Rafael Soriano has allowed one baserunner in six outings since coming off the DL, leading Sherman to wonder if the righty's opt-out could become a factor this winter. Considering how strong the relief market will be, I can't imagine even Scott Boras finding a deal better than the two years and $23MM Soriano has remaining on his current contract.
- There's no guarantee Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia are Yankees next season, but Garcia projects as a Type B free agent, meaning the club figures to at least offer him arbitration.
- Speaking of starters facing free agency, Jason Marquis tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that he'd love to represent his hometown and pitch for the Yankees or Mets. Taking into account their divisions and home parks, the Mets may be more appealing for Marquis than the Yanks, but either way, Marquis suggests he'll "explore that avenue when the season is done."