Unfazed by last season’s PED-related suspension, the Oakland Athletics have elected to resign starting pitcher Bartolo Colon to a one-year deal worth $3 million. The deal also includes incentives that could boost the dollar amount over the $5 million should Colon trigger them all.
Colon, who turns 40 in May, had a strong season for the A’s in 2012, contributing 2.4 WAR in 24 starts consisting of just over 150 innings before being hit with a 50-game suspension on August 22. There are still five games remaining from that suspension, but that’s a negligible amount for a starting pitcher and doesn’t figure to cost Colon more than one start.
The 2005 AL Cy Young award winner has had something of a late career resurgence the past few seasons, totaling 2.8 WAR in 2011 with the Yankees before putting up another fine season with the A’s in 2012. Prior to the last two years, Colon had not put together a noteworthy season since his Cy Young campaign, which was the end of his peak stretch that started in 1998 with a 5.0 WAR season for the Indians.
Colon (5.4 K/9 in 2012) no longer misses very many bats, but he’s found new life as a pitcher by severely limiting his walks — last season’s BB/9 rate of 1.4 was a career low, and in fact is less than half the amount of his career mark (2.9). This contract is a low risk investment for the A’s, and if Colon continues to showcase the pinpoint control he featured in 2012, it’s hard to see it not working out in the team’s favor.