Bartolo Colon has surrendered way too many hits, allowed as many runs as innings pitched and cannot keep anyone off the bases. The Oakland Athletics have every reason to be concerned about their fifth starter in the rotation.
Colon was suspended 50 games on August 22, 2012 for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. However, the Athletics decided to give him a second chance this season as the organization signed him to a one-year, $3 million contract.
Many fans have wondered why Oakland would waste their time and money on a 39-year-old who clearly has seen better days. However, manager Bob Melvin is convinced that Colon is his man. In fact, Melvin has already stated that the right-hander will have his job waiting for him once he returns from his suspension, despite how well Dan Straily performs in his place.
I understand that this is a low-risk, high-reward gamble the Athletics are making, but I still believe it is a huge mistake. Colon has given up 22 hits, 11 runs (nine earned) and has a .415 opponent batting average in four appearances (two starts) this spring. That is not the sign of someone ready to help lead a team back to the top of the mountain in the American League West.
Colon has struck out 13 batters in 11 innings, which is certainly a sign of promise. In fact, I believe one of the big reasons Oakland is taking another chance on him is because of his outstanding ability to rack up strikeouts on a consistent basis.
It will be interesting to see if this experiment works out because there is a really good chance it could blow up in the organization’s face. At the same time, a 3.43 ERA, 10 wins and 91 strikeouts in 152 1/3 innings is not too bad for the fifth man in the rotation.