Bartolo Colon Rumors
The Mets lost to Albert Pujols and the Cardinals today and the Yankees will take on the Rays later tonight. Here's the latest news regarding MLB's two New York teams...
- The Yankees have some interest in Jeremy Guthrie according to SI.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter), but they know Orioles' owner Peter Angelos will not trade with them.
- The Mets may have decided to keep him, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears that the Reds and Diamondbacks still have interest in Isringhausen (Twitter link).
- An American League contender called the Mets about R.A. Dickey and heard that the knuckleballer isn't going anywhere, according to Peter Gammons of MLB Network (on Twitter).
- The Mets have apparently decided to keep Jason Isringhausen, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- Even though Isringhausen would prefer not to be traded, he told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he has "unfinished business" in St. Louis. Cardinals sources tell Goold that they wouldn't rule out a reunion with Isringhausen at some point. The 38-year-old spent seven years with the Cardinals, saving 217 games.
- Freddy Garcia told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that he hopes to continue pitching for the Yankees, though he understands he may get bumped from the rotation if New York makes a trade.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff dares to wonder if Garcia and Bartolo Colon can keep pitching this well into October.
As Bartolo Colon, Phil Hughes and Rafael Soriano work their way back from injuries, their general manager is surveying the trade market for possible targets. Yet Brian Cashman doesn’t see many quality arms available, so he expects his strongest pitching reinforcements to come from within the organization, according to Newsday’s Ken Davidoff.
"I'd be shocked if I could trade for anything better than what I'm getting off the DL, both with starters in Colon and Hughes and in the bullpen with Soriano," Cashman said.
The trade market develops quickly, especially in late July, so the Yankees may find an elite starter or reliever on the market eventually. They’ll look everywhere for possible upgrades with an emphasis on improving the rotation, according to Davidoff.
C.C. Sabathia has been one of the best pitchers in the league, Colon and Freddy Garcia have been pleasant surprises and A.J. Burnett has been passable. Fifth starter Ivan Nova has a 4.19 ERA with 5.0 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 56% ground ball rate in 86 innings. Though Brian Gordon has been fine as a spot starter, the Yankees presumably want to limit their reliance on him. As a group, the rotation ranks 12th in MLB with a 3.81 ERA (3.84 xFIP).
Bartolo Colon didn’t pitch an inning in the Major Leagues last year. Neither did Erik Bedard, or Brandon McCarthy, or Ryan Vogelsong. Halfway through the 2011 season, each one of them has already made a difference at the highest level. The quartet of reclamation projects has combined for 309 2/3 innings of 2.88 ERA baseball this year with three times as many strikeouts (257) as walks (77).
A year after splitting his time between two Triple-A teams, Vogelsong (pictured) is a key contributor on one of baseball’s most effective pitching staffs. His 2.09 ERA leads a San Francisco rotation that includes the likes of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.
Yet there’s no denying that the same issue that kept the others off of MLB mounds in 2010 - health - persists. Colon could return from the disabled list this weekend; the Mariners placed Bedard on the DL today; McCarthy has been on Oakland’s disabled list for more than a month.
But before their respective teams placed them on the disabled list, their contributions surpassed all expectations. It’s been six weeks since McCarthy toed the rubber, yet A’s fans probably haven’t forgotten the 3.39 ERA and 37K/10BB ratio he posted through 63 2/3 innings.
The Yankees will be hoping for more of the same from Colon when he returns from the DL. The former Cy Young Award winner has tremendous numbers in 2011: a 3.10 ERA with a 72K/18BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings.
Two years after Colon won his Cy Young, Bedard posted a 3.16 ERA with 10.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 en route to a top-five finish for the award. If the lefty’s 2011 numbers look familiar, it’s probably because Bedard was pitching as well as ever before hitting the DL. He has a 3.00 ERA with an 85K/26BB ratio 90 innings into the season.
Don’t forget that the Mariners signed Bedard for just $1MM. McCarthy signed with Oakland for the same amount and the Yankees’ deal with Colon is worth just $900K in base salary. Like Colon, Vogelsong signed a minor league contract in January.
The pursuit of high-risk, high-reward arms does not guarantee success by any means. Brandon Webb ($3MM) and Rich Harden ($1.5MM) signed for more than any of the pitchers above and neither has thrown a pitch in the majors this year.
Naturally, that won’t stop teams looking to gamble on seemingly injury-prone pitchers this offseason. Someone - Ben Sheets, Jeremy Bonderman or 48-year-old Jamie Moyer perhaps? - will return from the discard pile after a year-long absence and make an impact, whether it's for a handful of starts or an entire season season. It’s just a question of who will resurface and which team will sign him.
Photo courtesy Icon SMI.
On this day in 2005, the Rangers released Andres Torres, a 27-year-old outfielder who had compiled a .534 OPS in parts of four big league seasons. While things looked bleak for Torres at the time, he eventually worked his way back to the bigs four years later with San Francisco. Since then, he has hit .266/.345/.477 and played a key role on the Giants' World Champion squad in 2010. Here are today's links:
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti isn't ready to make additions via trade, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. The club is reluctant to part with prospects like Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis, but the solution may ultimately be to turn to those two as they did with Cord Phelps last week. Chisenhall and Kipnis were ranked 25th and 54th, respectively, on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list entering 2011.
- ESPN's Keith Law tweets that he expects the Blue Jays to sign their first-round pick, Tyler Beede, for around $3MM. Beede, selected out of high school, has said his decision will come down to the money.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers has targeted "about 20 guys" who could be on the trade market over the next few weeks, according to the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro. While most teams aren't ready to deal yet, Towers says "that doesn't mean I don't do my due diligence and still call."
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News argues that, while the Giants need to acquire a catcher at some point, there's no urgency to do so immediately.
- Bartolo Colon's trip to the DL is a reminder that the Yankees likely won't be a championship-caliber team in 2011 without at least one more starting pitching acquisition, says John Harper of the New York Daily News.
- All the 40-man roster moves the Cardinals have made recently could suggest there's need for a trade, tweets Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- With labor uncertainty surrounding many other professional sports, Bud Selig is proud that baseball is avoiding similar issues, as the commissioner tells Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Hummel's piece includes a rundown of a few key items on the table during CBA talks.
Six Yankees lead All-Star balloting at their respective positions in the early going: Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson (who's second among outfielders to Jose Bautista). Here's the latest on the Yankees and their cross-town rivals:
- Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record points out that the Yankees have no incentive to dig for answers from Bartolo Colon, who had stem cells injected into his shouder and elbow before signing with them last offseason. The commissioner's office seems to know that Colon is beyond their reach, but MLB officials believe Colon should have disclosed what had happened when he signed with the Yankees.
- One GM suggested to Joel Sherman of the New York Post that Mets fans shouldn't expect too much in possible trades for Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. The return for players on the brink of free agency hasn't historically been overwhelming, the GM said, pointing to the 2008 deal that sent Teixeira from Atlanta to the Angels for Casey Kotchman. On the other hand, Matt Holliday was traded for Brett Wallace the next summer.
- Maybe Fred Wilpon was on point when he said David Wright is not a superstar. Rival executives tell Sherman that the third baseman would work best as the third or fourth-best player in a lineup.
After a rousing come-from-behind win last night, the Yankees are atop the AL East by a half game. The latest on the club:
- A third MRI on Rafael Soriano's elbow has prompted the Yankees to send the pricey reliever to see Dr. James Andrews, report Mark Feinsand and Sean Brennan of the New York Daily News. The writers note that this marks Soriano's sixth elbow-related DL stint; he's a survivor of Tommy John surgery and ulnar nerve transposition surgery. I'm not sure what surgeries are left, but the decision by Hal and Hank Steinbrenner and Randy Levine to overrule GM Brian Cashman on this signing is looking bad. If the team's bullpen depth is compromised due to the Soriano injury, Cashman might be forced to throw more money and/or prospects at the situation.
- A baseball official reviewed video of the procedures done on Bartolo Colon's elbow and shoulder, physician Leonel Liriano told Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger. "I feel that they know that everything is good," remarked Liriano. MLB has been concerned that Colon's stem cell therapy could have involved the use of HGH.
- Our 2012 contract issues entry for the Yankees was published a week ago, check it out. Many key players have unresolved contract situations.
- Our post on each team's draft picks reveals that the Yankees are one of 14 teams with two picks within the first 90. The Yankees will sit out until pick #51 overall, the longest wait for any team aside from the Tigers. The draft is less than two weeks away.
- Newsday's Ken Davidoff and Joel Sherman of the New York Post each examine the perception that the Yankees' offense, which leads the AL in runs (226) and OPS (.780), is underachieving. Both writers note that Jesus Montero's eventual arrival should provide a boost, while Sherman ponders the possiblity of acquiring a veteran bat like Carlos Beltran.
- Major League Baseball is looking into the doctor who performed Bartolo Colon's stem cell procedure, according to Christian Red of the New York Daily News. The doctor, Joseph Purita, has links to HGH, which raised a red flag for MLB. MLBTR's Nick Collias took a look at Colon's stem cell treatment earlier this month.
- Sandy Alderson's competitive nature means he's not eager to make any "so-called white-flag trades" and give up on the 2011 season, writes David Waldstein of the New York Times.
At least for the moment, it's safe to say that the Yankees' decision to sign Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal has paid off. Aside from a four-inning, five-run no-decision at the hands of the Rangers four days ago, Colon has pitched efficiently into the late innings in each of his four starts, his fastball is just a half-a-mph below his career average, and he's striking out batters at his best rate since 2000.
Of course it's early in the season, but MLBTR's Mike Axisa recently pointed out that according to a Fangraphs statistic that calculates a player's financial value based on how much teams have paid free agents for similar production, Colon is already worth more than double the $900K the Yankees are paying him.
What's to explain Colon's resurgence, at age 37 and after five years dominated by shoulder and elbow problems? According to a story in the Dominican daily Diario Libre, the new life in Colon's arm could be partially attributable to two treatments of stem cells - or "células madre" as they're called in the Dominican Republic, where Colon had the procedures. The doctors, Sergio Guzman and Leonel Liriano, told the newspaper they had envisioned using the treatment on Pedro Martinez, but they also sent "an invitation" out to Colon, which he accepted in March 2010. (Pedro's invitation, the article says, is still open). Guzman was quick to insist, though, that when they took fatty tissue and bone marrow from Colon's hip and injected it into injured tissues in his rotator cuff and elsewhere in his right shoulder, they weren't doing anything revolutionary.
"We have not invented anything, nor have we done anything new. This is being done the world over," Guzman explained. "We received some training overseas to handle this type of things. Harvard University donated the centrifuges. This is no invention. What we do is take a little bit of bone marrow and we put it into an affected area."
Among major league pitchers, the bar for success with stem cell treatments is Takashi Saito, who received an injection of platelet-rich plasma in his pitching elbow in July of 2008, at age 38, in an attempt to avoid Tommy John surgery. Saito was closing for the Dodgers again by September, and was a largely reliable option for the Red Sox and Braves over the next two seasons.
The Yankees would be thrilled to have similar production from Colon, though they did not know the full story behind Colon's resurgence until recently. Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Serge F. Kovaleski of the New York Times that he had not known about the treatment when the team signed him. (Cashman has since learned about the procedure and informed MLB about it). In both Saito's and Colon's cases, the doctors insisted that age is precisely what made the pitcher a suitable patient.
"We did not want to do a trial on a young 23, 24 year old, because the effectiveness could be questioned due to his age," Guzman said. "We did it with a veteran, and we hope that Felix Sanchez and other Dominican athletes that have suffered injuries will also submit to this treatment so that they can prove what can be done with stem cells."
While Colon has had success on the international stage after his treatment, this new chapter in his career has yet to truly play out. But with no imminent threats to his role with the Yankees, he stands likely to be given the opportunity to prove himself as the first stem-cell success in a starting rotation.
C.C. Sabathia starts for the Yankees tonight, which means the questions about their rotation can rest, if only for a day. Here's the latest on the Yankees, with an emphasis on their rotation...
- According to Cashman, Carlos Silva, who was signed by the Yanks to a minor-league deal after he was released by the Cubs, hasn't been assigned to a minor-league club, writes Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com. In fact, he hasn't even thrown to a hitter yet.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Marc Carig of the Star Ledger that he will review video of Kevin Millwood pitching in the minor leagues before deciding whether to promote the right-hander to the Major Leagues (Twitter link). Millwood can opt out of his contract with New York this Sunday.
- Paul Swydan of FanGraphs identifies some warning signs on the horizon for the resurgent Bartolo Colon, but maintains that the right-hander could help the Yankees form a devastating rotation.
- The Yankees can probably forget about acquiring the reigning Cy Young winner for now. Felix Hernandez told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that he’s happy playing for the Mariners and isn’t looking for a trade. A number of executives tell Morosi they expect King Felix to stay put this season, partly because he’s under team control through 2014.
Here's the latest out of Queens and the Bronx on the final Sunday before regular season baseball gets underway....
- The Yankees have no plans to pursue the recently released Carlos Silva tweets Jack Curry of the YES Network. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild was Silva's pitching coach with the Cubs last season.
- Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Chad Jennings of The Journal News that Romulo Sanchez was scratched from today's road trip "for reasons I can’t give to you at this point." The right-hander is out of options and a long shot to make the team, and Girardi gave a look that indicated a trade was in the works acording to Jennings.
- Pedro Beato will make the Mets' Opening Day roster, tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman. The Mets selected Beato from the Orioles in the Rule 5 draft.
- In another tweet, Heyman says the Mets are searching for a second left-handed reliever, in part to match up with some of the lefty sluggers in the NL East.
- In a conversation with Steve Selby of the New York Post, David Wright says he's not concerned about the possibility of a Mets fire sale.
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News argues that the Yankees took the "safe, easy" route in giving Freddy Garcia a rotation spot over Bartolo Colon.
- The Yankees hope Colon can occupy the swing-man role previously held by Alfredo Aceves, writes Feinsand.