The New York Mets have made their second major signing of the offseason with the addition of Bartolo Colon on a two-year deal pending a physical. Colon, who turns 41 in May, would bolster the Mets’ rotation and allow them to bridge the gap until Matt Harvey returns.
Despite Colon’s age and past connections with PEDs, this is a solid signing for Sandy Alderson despite the risks. Last season, with the Oakland Athletics, Colon went 18-6 with a sparkling 2.65 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 30 starts. Adding him to an already solid rotation that features Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee and Jonathan Niese will give the young rotation a veteran presence.
Colon has managed to find success at his age by pounding the strike zone with his fastball which sits in the low 90s and isn’t afraid to challenge hitters with his fastball or slider. He also doesn’t walk many people as he averaged just 1.4 BB/9 last season and doesn’t give up home runs, owning a career rate of 1.1 HR/9 and gave up only 0.7 HR/9 last year.
Citi Field and pitching to National League lineups should be kind to Colon. The only real question is can Colon stay healthy given his age and weight. He is listed at a slim 265 pounds but that might be conservative at this point. He will also be asked to hit now which could put added stress on his body and could be cause for concern.
However, despite the issues and risks, Colon is exactly what the Mets needed, a veteran arm to fill in for Harvey who can be an ace if at the top of his game. The Mets are taking a risk in giving Colon two years but he hasn’t shown any real ill effects since returning to baseball after a one-year hiatus. He has pitched in New York and is no strangers to what is expected of players in the city.
While Colon might not be as alluring to Mets’ fans as some other free agents he is one of the better, more accomplished pitchers on the market. The Mets were willing to give Colon two years which was enough to get the contract done. Now, they just have to hope he holds up. If he does this could be a great signing.