As we inch closer to the MLB trade deadline, the New York Mets don’t look like a team that’s going to be particularly active on the trade market. But if there’s one player that the Mets are likely to trade, it’s starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, who is clearly one of the team’s top trade chips. However, unless Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is blown away with a trade offer for Colon, under no circumstances should the Mets trade him away.
In a lot of ways, trading Colon would make sense for the Mets. He’s a veteran pitcher with playoff experience who would be a useful addition for any team chasing a playoff spot down the stretch, meaning the Mets could get something substantial in a trade for him. Colon is also under contract for next season, so trading him away would cleanse the Mets of responsibility for paying him next season, giving them more payroll flexibility in the offseason while also opening up room in the starting rotation for some of the Mets’ young pitchers, as well as the return of Matt Harvey in 2015.
However, the reasons to trade Colon are the same why the Mets should keep him. If the Mets expect to contend in 2015 behind Harvey and the rest of their young pitching staff, they’re going to need a veteran presence like Colon to be a stabilizing force. That’s especially true if the Mets somehow find themselves in a playoff chase late in the 2015 season, as few players on the team have experience in that situation.
Despite a few rough starts this season and some poor first innings, Colon has been one of the Mets’ best and most consistent pitchers this season. There’s little reason to believe he won’t be able to continue that for another season. Colon has also remained healthy all season, which is something the Mets are going to need next season as well. With so many young, hard-throwing pitchers, injuries are bound to turn up, and oddly enough the elderly Colon may be the most likely starting pitcher to remain healthy throughout the season. That will make him an important part of the Mets’ rotation if they expect to be a competitive team.
It will certainly be tempting for Alderson and the Mets to trade Colon if they get a good offer for him, especially if they’re out of contention at the trade deadline. But even with plenty of talented young pitchers in the organization, Colon will remain an important part of the Mets’ pitching staff next season. Unless they receive an offer they can’t refuse, they should hang on to him.