With the MLB trade deadline fast approaching, most of the rumors involving the New York Mets revolve around the trading of Bartolo Colon. The Mets appear to be quietly but firmly pushing Colon hard on other teams, but thus far the Mets’ potential trade partners have been reluctant to give up something substantial to obtain the veteran.
Part of the issue is fear that Colon, who is 42 and under contract for next season for $11 million, will eventually break down. However, these should be non-factors for potential trade partners.
Granted, Colon had some injury problems from 2006 to 2010 and missed a lot of starts in that time, but he was a workhorse early in his career, making at least 30 starts every year from 1998 to 2005, and he’s becoming a workhorse again late in his career, making 26 starts in 2011, 24 in 2012, 30 last year, and already 20 this season. Considering the way he’s pitched this season, he can certainly keep it up for the rest of this season and most likely next season as well.
He no longer wears out his arm by throwing pitches at a high velocity; he changes speeds and uses pinpoint command to get hitters out instead of trying to overpower them. He also displays little effort in his delivery, and is easily the most casual pitcher in the game, so there is little chance of Colon hurting himself by trying too hard. At this point in his career, he knows what his body is capable of doing, and he knows how to manage himself without succumbing to injury.
Obviously, Colon is approaching the end of his career, but age aside, he doesn’t fit the profile of a pitcher who would have issues with his arm health. Uncertainty with his age and his health are why the Mets were the only team to give him a two-year contract during the offseason, but those concerns are unfounded, and teams considering a trade for Colon at the deadline shouldn’t be afraid of acquiring him because of the risk of injury.
Colon’s injury risk is minimal compared to the average pitcher in today’s game, which is why some team out there should be willing to step up and give the Mets something substantial in a trade for him.