The New York Mets surprised most of baseball at the MLB Winter Meetings Wednesday night with the signing of veteran starter Bartolo Colon to a two-year contract worth $20 million. Of course, no one had to be more surprised than the Mets’ fan base. They are not accustomed to seeing such free spending, especially on the heels of the Mets guaranteeing $60 million to outfielder Curtis Granderson.
There were rumors earlier in the week that the Mets had met with Colon, but those reports were quickly dismissed under the assumption that the Mets would not go as high as $10 million per year on a pitcher like Colon much less guarantee two years. Even with two empty spots at the back end of their rotation, it was assumed that the Mets would likely fill the spots with low cost journeymen while they wait for Rafael Montero, Noah Syndergaard, and their other top pitching prospects to get to the big leagues. That’s why why it’s such a shock that the Mets would spend big money on one of the top free agent starters available this offseason.
Also surprising about the Mets’ signing of Colon is the fact that they signed a pitcher during the Winter Meetings. After the signing of Granderson to solidify the outfield for next season, it was assumed that the Mets would turn their attention to trying to unload first baseman Ike Davis and possibly trade second baseman Daniel Murphy as well. But Sandy Alderson surprised everybody by upgrading the rotation instead.
Finally, it’s surprising to see the Mets offer the 40-year old Colon a two-year contract. With Matt Harvey returning from injury in 2015 and Montero and Syndergaard likely being full-fledged members of the rotation by then, it’s surprising to see Alderson commit another year and another $10 million to a starter since there will be little vacancies in the rotation by 2015. But Alderson must have felt he needed to give the extra year to Colon in order to sign him, and he must have felt that the Mets will need him to compete in 2014.
Right about now, Mets’ fans are probably wondering “who are you, and what have you done with the real Mets?” The signing of Colon was no doubt a surprise to many, but it’s certainly a pleasant one. It indicates that the Mets are intent on contending in 2014, and with the recent additions of Granderson and Colon that’s becoming a real possibility.