The case for keeping Bartolo Colon

benberkon

For the first time in three decades, the Mets have an abundance of young starting pitching. Especially with Matt Harvey set to return in 2015, the Mets will boast as many as eight legitimate rotation options for next season.

In a sea of comparatively green, twenty-somethings vying for a slot, Bartolo Colon, the 17-year veteran whom the Mets signed to a two-year, $20 million contract this past offseason, could be the odd man out.

Colon, 41, has pitched notably well for the Mets in 2014, posting a 3.85 ERA (versus a 3.40 FIP and park-adjusted 3.61 xFIP) over 161 1/3 innings. With under $13 million remaining on his contract through 2015, the right-hander would be an attractive addition to just about any team’s rotation.

But that doesn’t mean the Mets should actually trade Colon this offseason…



Colon Horizontal


Critics have been quick to poke fun at his physique and question his seemingly inexplicable success. But they’ve also been doing that for 17 years now. Colon hasn’t yielded to the jeers, owning a 3.58 FIP and 3.84 xFIP in 657 innings (as a starter) since 2011. In fact, over that span (and amongst starters with at least 600 innings pitched), Colon’s FIP and xFIP trump the likes of Jon Lester and Matt Cain, respectively.

Without Colon next season, Dillon Gee, who turns 29 in April, would alternatively reign as the Mets’ most aged hurler. And while possessing a talented, youthful rotation is hardly a conundrum, the lack of a veteran innings-eater could potentially hurt the Mets’ playoff chances in 2015. To Colon’s credit, the pitcher is currently on-pace for his consecutive season of at least 190 innings, while averaging a bit more than 6 2/3 innings per start this year.

No other Mets pitcher can list feats of endurance such as these. Not even the team’s longest tenured starter, Jon Niese.

Even though, since 2011, Niese has owned a similarly productive 3.68 FIP and 3.63 xFIP as Colon, the southpaw’s biggest obstacle has continued to be his health. In 2014 alone, the 27-year-old has made two trips to the disabled list, missing a combined 17 games due to elbow and shoulder injuries. And being just a year removed from a partial rotator cuff tear, the prospect of his re-tearing it is always there.

Niese’s long injury history only represents his tangible red flag. He’s also prone to mental lapses on the mound, and, especially this season, less-than-positive body language.

The point, however, is not to pick sides; a #TeamNiese versus a #TeamColon campaign isn’t necessary. Both pitchers have been key parts of the Mets’ strong pitching this year: a 3.84 rotation FIP and 3.79 xFIP — all in spite of a Harvey-less rotation.

It might not be either of these pitchers to be missing from the rotation at all next year. Young pitchers like Jacob deGrom, Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard are the type of pitchers that make many pitching-starved teams salivate. Don’t count on eight options being the case on March 27, either.

Instead, the focus should be how to immediately improve the Mets’ tepid offense—and subsequently, which pitcher or pitchers are shipped elsewhere. Despite receiving impressive individual performances from Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda this season, the team’s bats have combined for a park-adjusted 88 wRC+ (tied for 24th) and 91 home runs (26th) to date.


Jon Niese


With a free-agent market devoid of game-changing players, the Mets might turn their attention to rumored to-be-available Troy Tulowitzki.

Aside from tantalizing the Colorado Rockies with the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and Kevin Plawecki, perhaps Niese, whose team-friendly contract essentially controls him through 2018, could be the key to the Mets’ acquiring the dynamic Rockies’ shortstop.

By comparison, a trade involving Colon might net the Mets an above average corner outfielder or a package headlined by 2017 or 2018 hopefuls. But adding a rare talent such as Tulowitzki—by way of Niese—could propel the Mets the way [deserving Hall of Fame] catcher Mike Piazza did when they acquired him in May 1998.

The loss of Niese would undoubtedly sting. Aside from leaving the Mets without a left-hander in the rotation (at least, until 23-year-old Steven Matz is ready), Niese has also been a poster boy for the Mets’ newfound ability to develop quality, starting pitchers.

Yet, Niese’s successes and still untapped potential notwithstanding, the only way for the stars to align for the Mets’ first playoff appearance since 2006 is for the team to actually acquire a star.


Ben Berkon’s work has been published on Huffington Post, The Onion, and various other mainstream sites. Make sure to follow him @BenBerkon.




132 comments
ReneNYK1
ReneNYK1

WE are going nowhere with an 80 million dollar payroll,we should be buyers not sellers,Colon has done nothing to be traded,he has helped our young pitchers and to trade him because of money is a losing propersition for this team.This team will never win without spending the right amount for a big city franchise.And if we do win it won't last long because we would not be able to sign out own talent.

semperfi
semperfi

Wish list, Jose and Jose from Toronto, Reyes has 3 yrs and $66 mill left and Bautista has 1 year with $14 mill and option for $14 mill in 2016, solves SS, and right handed power for the OF, saves Toronto a ton of $ that we can afford especially if we can save on Colons $11 mill next year and trade Murphy and bring up Herrera. Reyes back to leading off with Herrera up 2nd playing 2B followed by Bautista, Duda, Wright, Granderson, dArnaud and Lagares/denDekker as your 4th OF, that line up will score some runs with solid SP and a great bullpen, Parnell, Black, Mejia, Familia, Edgins and DiceK for your LR, throw in a new Mgr and your definitely playoff bound!

semperfi
semperfi

If you can get something of value for Colon and save $11 million on top of that, then it's a no brainer. A bigger decision will be whether to commit to Murphy long term with a $50 million+ contract or bring up a potential super stud in Herrera to play 2B for the long haul, this kid has superstar written all over him and already provides better D then Murph ever will.

Todd David Ferrell
Todd David Ferrell

How much pitching do you need when your team fields 4 every day positions batting .220?

supert
supert

If the team wasn't operating under a self imposed $80M something team payroll then "yes", I might agree to keeping Colon.


But, when he is making $11M next season or one eighth of the team's total payroll and the team needs ALL the help on offense it can get, the decision that he needs to be dealt because pretty obvious.

Olerud42
Olerud42

The case for: he is good.

Anthony Gaetano DeCesare
Anthony Gaetano DeCesare

Mmmmm....I think they will wait till june/July to bring up Synderyard because of the Super 2 stuff..like they did with Harvey and Wheeler... just a guess...

Personally if it were me, I would throw Montero in the bullpen which will be strong with Parnell coming back and the people already there, I would keep Colon, I would go with a six man rotation to give Harvey and everyone else an extra day's rest and sign offense from free agency.

I would go hard after Hanley Ramirez for SS and sign another OF whether its Aoki, Cuddyer or whomever, Cruz will be too expensive.

Keep all the pitching.

George Brezny
George Brezny

SS and LF - and probably tweaks in the pen, and bench to get us back to the playoffs next year. If that means given up a key SP prospect, so be it. Looks like free agency to get the LF. If Colon had value I think he would have been gone at the trade deadline. Can't hurt to have too many arms... Just can't can expect him to be at the top of the rotation and having a year like he had with the A's. Doesn't seem as if there are high end SS's that will be FA's this offseason.

nymets29
nymets29

God I can't wait till next year when harvey starts the year with maybe 2 or 3 bad starts and everyone says he'll never amount to anything he's done

Joe Paulson
Joe Paulson

I can see an argument for it ... depends on what people are offering. Me, I thought some team would pick him up and return something worthwhile this month.  Slip Syn into his slot.  Still can trade Niese.  Have Montero and can pick up someone cheap for insurance. Can even use Dice-K if necessary.  But, if they keep Colon, it wouldn't be crazy.  Still, just wary -- even ageless ones have some limit.

BerryBeltran
BerryBeltran

Since this is a Colon post and people want to continue to kill Wright


I ask you this...


What third baseman would you have in his place that would be realistically available that can give you equal defense and offense in the career that he has, keeping in mind that even in his off year, he is a top 10 3B in most rankings.

melmet
melmet

DAVID (FACE OF THE FRANCHISE) WRIGHT.....must have a hard time looking in the mirror every day...I BELIEVE HE IS A TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY....his contract by the time it ends in 2020 or whenever..will be the worst contract ever...worse than santana and bey put together...20 million dollars a year for 8 home runs!!!!....THATS A FELONY!!!....CALL THE COPS!

vimets
vimets

Typical NY idiot statement.

2ndhalffun
2ndhalffun

@Anthony Gaetano DeCesare Anthony-- Everyday you keep posting you want Hanley. Hanley is making $16 million per. Do you really think the Mets are going to spend $16 million on an old ss making $16 million. C/Mon Anthony you know better than that. 

Joe Paulson
Joe Paulson

@BerryBeltran many superstars have bad years ... guy is 31 ... his career isn't dead ... he is having an off year and with no margin for error, it is hurting the team. But, wrong to "kill" him, obviously for me.

theglider
theglider

What I find interesting is despite this bad year he's still second on the team in average, RBIs and doubles.

And as bad as it is he's fifth in the league in RBIs among third basemen.

He's having a down year that others would love to have.

@melmet Learn to write. kind sir.  Now incoherent writing should be a felony.

rf04
rf04

@melmet Not even close to the worst contract in the division. The top 5 go to the Phils.

BerryBeltran
BerryBeltran

@melmet LOL so you are telling me Wrights contract will be worse than A-Rods? No offense but do you think before you post? He is having an off year. How do you know this is the norm now? If he comes back next year and produces..will you be one of the ones hanging Wright pictures on your wall yelling "oh captain my captain"!!!

Blanca Recinos
Blanca Recinos

Mandatory testing started, numbers dropped, injuries started. Look at the timeline.

Anthony Gaetano DeCesare
Anthony Gaetano DeCesare

30 is old??? I don't think so. He won't make more then 15 or 16 million anyway....he's better then any SS that's available or on the team currently. Plus we don't have to trade prospects for him. The mets are not trading for tulo or cargo now that their both injured and the marlins are not trading Stanton either...

U sign Hanley and say a Cuddyer to this team...this is a much different team next year.

theglider
theglider

I honestly think he has a bad shoulder and has had it for awhile. That's why the pitch he took the other night was so bad. Usually players shake it off unless it exacerbates an injury.

BerryBeltran
BerryBeltran

@theglider agreed...also the funny thing is I read posts all the time killing him and I pose the same question....all the people who kill him cannot come up with a better option...because quite frankly he is the best option having an off-year

ReneNYK1
ReneNYK1

@melmet What are you an english teacher here,argue the point not attack the writing,who cares how he says it if it's valid.I think we overpayed for Wright to make Met fans happy by not spending on anyone else.

melmet
melmet

@rf04 @melmet INDEED...thats why they are fighting the mets for the cellar....I HOPE WE WIN THE RACE AND FINISH IN THE CELLAR....that will show our (resident genius) sandy alderson  how dumb he really is...the only guy that actually EARNED HIS MONEY this year is COLON....

melmet
melmet

@BerryBeltran @melmet WHO THE HECK cares about  A-ROD OR OTHER YANKEE STUPIDITY...they have money to burn ...we dont...and as a MET FAN SINCE 1962...i stand by my statement....wright is already a shell of himself...and he TOLD THE METS he cant hit home runs in citifield...yet they still threw  20 million a year at him for 7 years!!! 

BerryBeltran
BerryBeltran

@Blanca Recinos now you are suggesting he was taking PED's???? My god this fan base is unreal. Wright has one off season and the things being said about him are mind blowing

ReneNYK1
ReneNYK1

@theglider The think the balls to his head has also caused him some problems.

lagaresfamiliafan
lagaresfamiliafan

@melmet @BerryBeltran I think being a met fan since 62 has got u really depressed and i guess u r getting your anger out now. I think chris young was the worst contract we had this year. BTW bobby bonilla is the most wasted money this organization gives. In my opinion paying some1 29.8 mil to sit on a coach is a lot worse than paying someone 20 mil to give u 2 all star seasons and one decent year he will bounce back from.

BerryBeltran
BerryBeltran

@melmet @BerryBeltran You just said David Wright will go down as the worst contract ever. I can think of many contracts that look way worse in comparison. I mentioned A-Rod because of what you said. I congratulate you on being an elder state mets fan. I have been one since 1984. Very unfair to use the term shell of his former self after one off year. He doesn't deserve next season to prove this year was a fluke?

Blanca Recinos
Blanca Recinos

OFF YEAR! He has been in decline for 3+ years. Same with injuries. Try pathetic year with more to come. Do your research

@lagaresfamiliafan @BerryBeltran @theglider Disagree, his problem is stemming from confidence. He's here for a while, so the team will figure it out. He'll have a more intense off season regimen. 

ReneNYK1
ReneNYK1

@lagaresfamiliafan @melmet @BerryBeltran I also have been a fan since 62 and I'm not depressed,we won in 69 and 86 so we can do it but with a 80 million payroll for this franchise it's a joke to think we can compete with the fair spending teams.

melmet
melmet

@BerryBeltran @melmet as i said...he  will be completely impossible to move because of his ludicrous contract so WE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO WATCH HIM  hit .275 with 15 homers next year....wow...thats a real 20 million dollar player....

James
James

@Blanca Recinos Yes he has been on a terrible decline having 2 of his best years the last two years.  You might want to stop being an idiot before demanding others do their research.

BerryBeltran
BerryBeltran

@Blanca Recinos LOL do my research??? I love the rudeness..


I didn't know a .307 and .306 average in 2 consecutive seasons with OBP's at almost .400 and OPS at over .800 was considered being on the decline. Now if you want to do some research go look at his stats. If your argument is power decline and inability to hit with RISP and two outs, then you have a legitimate argument. Being in decline means your numbers overall are no where near your career averages. This is the first season where he will play at least 140 games where he is way off his career averages

BerryBeltran
BerryBeltran

@melmet @BerryBeltran Lets hope not....but me personally..I give him a pass this season because of what I have seen from him over his career...however, if he continues to decline and puts up worse numbers then this season, I would change my tune as that would be two years in a row

Blanca Recinos
Blanca Recinos

He has not been clutch through those years and big time power decline. You are a little sensitive if you think do your research is rude. I saw him in big spots fail again and again and again, especially late in game. Not to prior levels in power production and RIB levels while entering his prime, strange.

melmet
melmet

@BerryBeltran @melmet as for myself...I HAVE ALREADY CHECKED OUT FOR THIS SEASON....after being swept at home by washington and hitting like a little league team  (wright/granderson) especially...I GUESS I'LL see how ELI  is doing......ENJOY!

melmet
melmet

@Blanca Recinos BLANCA....as you have said...and I CONCUR WHOLEHEARTEDLY ....wright is as automatic out in late inning clutch situations...AN AUTOMATIC OUT....all season long!!!...HE HAS COST THE MET 10 GAMES HIMSELF...with his utter futility in the clutch....and why should he get a pass???...AT 20 MILLION A YEAR....TRY THAT IN PRIVATE INDUSTRY AND SEE HOW LONG HE LASTS>>>

BerryBeltran
BerryBeltran

@Blanca Recinos LOL now I am sensitive?


Anyway...that was the point I made...that his power numbers are down and his RISP is definitely flaky. However, you mentioned he is in decline. Overall he is not in decline outside of power numbers and sadly..he is average with RISP and 2 outs with a career average of .250