Bartolo Colon remains a New York Met. The rotund righty was rumored in many a deal as Thursday’s MLB trade deadline came and went. But, the veteran appears to be staying put in Queens. Whether the big man in the borough calls Citi Field home come next season, however, remains to be seen.
The club would be smart to keep Colon around.
Yes, Colon is 41 years old. Yes, he is listed at 285 pounds (which means he’s probably closer to three bills). But, performance doesn’t lie. Colon has still got it and then some. So far this season he is 10-8 with a 3.88 ERA in 21 appearances for the Mets and he has been lights out in his last two starts. His win-loss record could be even better if not for a stretch of anemic New York offense.
There hasn’t been much reason for optimism for Mets fans in recent years. Since Carlos Beltran struck out looking to end the 2006 NLCS, the team has turned in a few collapses followed by dud season after dud season. But things are changing. There’s a buzz now in Met Land thanks to a crop of promising young arms. The pitchers are split up among the active roster, the minors, and the disabled list–each one with potential for a huge upside. This influx of hurlers has led to the presumed expendability of Colon. But is that the best course of action? Maybe not.
A staff of gritty, youthful throwers is certainly a good thing. The sky’s the limit. But something could be said for having a veteran presence there to help the new guys along. Under the tutelage of a Colon, the Mets staff can learn not only pitching techniques but intangibles as well. A leader of the pack, if you will, providing lessons that the pitchers would carry with them long after Colon hits the dusty trail.
While all of the Mets young pitchers are talented, simple math indicates some of them will have to eventually be dealt. There’s just not enough room. The question is which pitchers will depart and which ones will be members of the rotation for years to come? That’s the question Fred Wilpon and company need to get right.
Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler, Jonathon Niese, and Noah Syndergaard each has a chance to be in orange and blue for a decade. It’s just not possible for all of them to be. So instead of trading one of them and Colon, why not move two, keep Colon, and get some bats in return?
A Harvey, deGrom, Colon, Wheeler, and Niese rotation in 2015 sounds pretty formidable. Sure, if you’re tying to trade for a Troy Tulowitzki you may have to up the ante. Perhaps Wheeler becomes available then. It’d be prudent, though, to hang on to Harvey and deGrom if at all possible.
While some of the others may be touted more than deGrom, he seems to have that ‘it’ factor. The kid is not only talented and athletic, he just brings that winning feel to an organization that hasn’t experienced much winning lately. He can hit, he can field, and he flat out brings it. DeGrom stares batters in the eye and challenges them. He’s a pro beyond his years. DeGrom is suited for the bright lights of New York. Another season or two with Colon would only make the long-haired gamer more fierce.
Just because the trade deadline has passed, Colon’s time as a Met may still be in it’s final chapter. Colon is owed about $3 million this year and $11 million for next season. The Mets want any potential suitor to pay the tab. The Mets can make a waiver deal involving Colon in August. They also could wait until the offseason to move him.
Young pitching is great, but it’s no sure thing. Remember the trio of Wilson, Isringhausen, and Pulsipher? Things happen. Injuries occur.
Long story short: the Mets are expected to trade Colon at some point. Perhaps they should rethink that. He could help this team moving forward in ways that statistics will never show.