The New York Mets’ signing of starting pitcher Bartolo Colon may have surprised some people, but it’s hard to deny the move will be beneficial for the Mets in 2014. The addition of Colon improves an already strong, albeit thin, starting rotation for the Mets that should go a long way toward helping the team compete next season.
The biggest challenge the Mets will face, at least pitching-wise, next season will be making up for the absence of Matt Harvey, who will miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery in the fall. The Mets don’t have a bona fide ace like Harvey on their staff, but with Colon in the fold, they now have four quality starters in Colon, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler who are all mid-rotation starters or better. All four pitchers are on relatively equal footing, so much so that it’s hard to know who would be the Opening Day starter if the season were to begin tomorrow.
With this group of four starters, the Mets don’t have a stopper at the front of the rotation like Harvey, but they should feel good about their chances to win on any given day with one of them on the mound, and that should enable them to make up for the absence of Harvey in 2014, at least as much as it’s possible to make up for the absence of a pitcher of his caliber.
The addition of Colon also makes the final spot in the rotation a less pressing issue. With four reliable pitchers in place, the Mets don’t have to guarantee a major league contract to anyone, as they can find veteran candidates willing to come to spring training on a minor league deal to compete with Jenrry Mejia and Rafael Montero for the fifth spot in the rotation, while waiting for Noah Syndergaard and some of their other top pitching prospects to be prove themselves ready for a major league promotion.
There is obviously some risk by giving a two-year contract and $20 million to a pitcher like Colon, and it could make for a crowded rotation in 2015, but adding Colon is a game-changer for the Mets in 2014. He changes the dynamic of the starting rotation, and his presence will go a long way in turning the Mets into a team that was hoping to compete in 2014 to a team that expects to compete in 2014.