This post originally appeared on July 23, 2014…
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
The way I see it, there is no good reason for a team to acquire Bartolo Colon before July 31, unless they’re really, really desperate. Otherwise, they wait, and so do the Mets. Why? I suspect Sandy Alderson took a calculated risk giving Colon a second year on his contract because Alderson felt the Mets would be able to move Bartolo before the end of the season in some way, shape or form. So, if giving him the second year got him to ink the deal, so be it.
Well, here we are…
Interested teams are asking the Mets to pay a portion of Colon’s $11 million salary for 2015, according to columnist Joel Sherman (NY Post, July 23). However, Sandy Alderson would prefer not to do that (Carig, July 22).
In other words, “I think there is zero chance they find someone to take him,” a scout told Sherman. “You have to pay him $11 million next year when he will be 42 and no one wants to do that. No one is going to trust to give up prospects and take on that risk.”
The Mets could choose to let Colon get claimed off waivers and, though they’d get nothing back in return for him, they also wouldn’t be on the hook for his salary in 2015, a front office executive told Sherman, predicting that this is exactly what the Mets will try to do.
The market looks to be like this: As is, a 41-year-old, overweight, 8-8 Colon with a history of steroid usage and a 4.21 ERA, due $11 million next season, is seemingly worth one mid-level pitching prospect, maybe two, depending on the other team’s despair. Sure, the Mets could pay some of the $11 million, but how much will that actually bump up the quality of the returning prospect? According to insiders I’ve talked with, while it will increase the name coming back in the deal, he probably won’t be worth the full $11 million. In other words, I don’t see how Alderson finds a good, justifiable fit — or, at least one better than going into this September and offseason with Colon on the team.
On the other hand, the Mets can put Colon on waivers and – if a team claims him – just let him go. Sure, it would be disappointing to not get back a young player or two to add to an already rich farm system. But, it would clear $15 million or so that could be better allocated for a bat this winter. Ordinarily, it’s foolish to let a pitcher of Colon’s caliber walk. However, as Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler keep maturing in front of our eyes, Matt Harvey will be back next season as well…
In other words, in the next seven days, the Mets are going to ask teams to overpay for Colon – much like they did with Marlon Byrd last year. In this case, because Colon is under contract next year, overpay may mean having the acquiring team pick up all or part of Colon’s remaining money. However, like with Byrd, and for the reasons listed above, I bet nothing will happen before the deadline. Instead, I think real Colon trade talks hit us in August, ending either with him getting moved to a team for nothing or finishing the year on the Mets.
Or, as one NL insider recently told me, “The thing about Sandy is that, and you saw this with RA Dickey and Carlos Beltran, he tends to ask for the moon, everyone laughs and yet he seems to find a way to get it.” Maybe that can happen again this time around…again.