The Pittsburgh Pirates have a very noticeable weakness in pitching. To fix this hole, the Pirates are hunting for starting pitchers and relief pitchers on the market. The only problem is that it is a seller’s market. Teams are getting top prospects in trades for just quality pitching, not top of the line pitchers. But there is always a bargain to be found in any market. This year, that bargain is Bartolo Colon.
Colon is having a pretty good season starting for the New York Mets. He has the highest strikeout rate of his career since 2007. He also has the best advanced metrics this season that he’s had since 2011. This means he’s pitching even better this year than when he led the Oakland Athletics to the playoffs last season with 18 wins. With these advanced stats, Colon can plug in as the No. 2 pitcher in the Pirates’ rotation and just take over from there.
There is even more good when it comes to Colon. He generates a lot of ground balls, and the Pirates are notorious for their great defense on ground balls. Colon would also provide a lot of leadership in the Pirates’ locker room, much like veteran AJ Burnett provided the past few seasons. He also provides playoff experience to a rotation that only got a taste of October baseball last season.
There are some questions to consider about Colon. He is 41 years old, so there is always a risk for injury at that age. Colon is also due a lot of money next season. He is guaranteed $11 million next season, and this is likely too much for the Pirates to pay. But the Mets are trying hard to move Colon, so if they are desperate to move him, they could certainly pay half of his salary in order to get a useful prospect out of the deal.
Looking at everything that is involved, it seems as if Colon is the best value on the market. He is old and owed money, but he is pitching better than he has in a long time. The Mets really want to get him out of New York and could be desperate to move him at all costs. The Pirates and Mets also have a good past trading, as they completed the Marlon Byrd trade last year and the Ike Davis trade this season. It just seems like a perfect match, and if GM Neal Huntington is smart, he will pursue Colon before July is over.