Despite missing time with an injury and otherwise pitching terribly this season, reports suggest that the recently-released Bartolo Colon is already drawing interest from several MLB teams.
It seems that there might just still be life left in Bartolo Colon’s career. The Atlanta Braves designated the starting pitcher for assignment just over one week ago, as our own Joe Piazza wrote. After no teams struck a trade with the Braves, Grant McAuley posted on Twitter that the team officially released him Thursday morning.
Within hours of Colon reaching free agent status, journalists were already reporting on teams checking in on the righty. Mike Puma of the New York Post wrote on Twitter that the New York Mets were at least considering a reunion and had “spoken to Bartolo Colon’s agent.” Within ten minutes of the Puma’s Tweet, James Wagner of the New York Times confirmed the original report while adding that other teams have also expressed interest. Both reporters stressed that a decision did not appear to be imminent.
Clearly, teams still had an interest in the veteran starter. They just lacked strong enough interest to pay serious money for his services. After all, the Atlanta Braves inked Colon to a one-year deal worth $12.5 million back in November, rendering the 44-year-old a pricey fringe pitcher.
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At this point in his career, it is unclear what Bartolo Colon brings to the table. At 44-years-old with 3,235 MLB innings under his belt, most pitchers of his experience have begun a post-baseball career. His work through 63 innings this season did not exactly stave off any concerns of old age hampering his ability.
During his time with the Atlanta Braves, Bartolo Colon saw his ability to prevent both runs and base runners rapidly deteriorate. Throwing a high-80s fastball 82.1 percent of the time, opponents lit him up to the tune of an 8.14 earned run average, .331 batting average, and 1.57 home runs per nine innings. Advanced metrics had a pessimistic view of his work, although they seemed to feel that bad luck had also hurt his season.
As I noted when the Braves placed him on the disabled list with an oblique injury roughly one month ago, finding a new home with improved defense could rejuvenate his season. Through 13 starts, Colon owns an abnormally low 48.2 left on base percentage alongside an abnormally high .360 batting average on balls in play. Perhaps a change of scenery could shake things up with the defense, allowing his play to improve. Especially if he is returning to a team like the New York Mets that has a fan base ready to welcome him home.