Team Bartolo moves south to Atlanta! Braves sign Bartolo Colon!
*UPDATE: Colon will make $12.5 million in 2017. That’s more than he’s made since he was with the Angels in 2007. **UPDATE #2: See Noah Syndergaard’s reaction to the news of Bartolo’s departure from the Mets at the end of this post.
The Atlanta Braves are not kidding around when it comes to their intent on winning in 2017, the year their new stadium will be having its grand opening. They’ve now made their second signing in two days taking Bartolo Colon off the free agent market.
Thursday, the Braves signed R.A. Dickey to a one-year $7.5 million contract with an $8 million team option for 2018, that includes a $500 K buyout, guaranteeing the 42-year-old veteran a total of $8 million over the next two years. Not a bad deal for the 42-year-old innings eater. Something I talked about in my post yesterday as being one of Dickey’s strengths.
The team has added another veteran who can eat up innings as well as anyone in the league in 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (thus dashing my hopes that he’d return to the Athletics, however, deep down I knew he’d remain in the National League so the world can continue to marvel at his at-bats!).
Similar to yesterday, the details of Bartolo Colon’s contract with the Braves is only known to be a one-year deal so far and the financial details have not yet been disclosed to the public. However, making the assumption that Colon, who will turn 44 in May, will likely also receive a similar amount of money as Dickey as well as an option for 2018 is a promising one to make.
Colon had already made it known that he wanted a two-year-deal, something the New York Mets were not prepared to offer, despite the fact that Colon was, next to Noah Syndergaard, the only Mets pitcher to remain healthy all season in 2016.
Since turning 40 years old while with the Oakland organization in 2013, a year in which he put up career numbers. They were numbers that were worthy of another Cy Young Award (he won his first and only Cy Young Award in 2005 with the Los Angeles Angels). Colon finished his 40-year-old season with the A’s second in the American League in wins with 18 and second in the AL in ERA at 2.65. His numbers were very similar to those of 2005, in some cases better.
He also pitched a very solid 191.1 innings in 2013 and made the third all-star appearance of his career. Since turning 40 the pitcher has become a phenomenon in professional baseball and has developed what can only be described as a cult following, which I wrote about in a column titled The Cult of Bartolo Colon back on May 8 of this year.
Colon, when healthy, has like DIckey been an innings eater, saving the bullpen precious innings to use in other games. Since 2013, Colon has pitched 779.0 innings, which averages out to 195 innings per season. That’s almost a steady 200 innings a year which is a number that is paramount when looking at starting pitching. In the past four seasons Colon has gone 62-40 while posting a 3.59 ERA. He’s been the oldest and one of the best pitchers in the league.
This is a smart move for the Braves. Bringing in both DIckey and Colon. They have some young talent in their farm system who still need some time to develop, so potentially having two years of two, older, but still good pitchers in their rotation is a very safe bet, especially with both of them being innings eaters.
Colon is obviously the better of the two aging pitchers but it was a very smart move by the Braves to strike hard and fast by signing both pitchers this early in the offseason. It gives them security. They won’t be scrambling at the last minute to fill out their roster.
Now, if you add Colon and Dickey to Julio Teheran, Josh Collmenter, Mike Foltynewicz and perhaps Aaron Blair or Matt Wisler in the rotation AND consider the way both Freddie Freeman and Matt Kemp performed last season, it’s hard to see the Braves not returning to some kind of contention. They may not be headed to the World Series but they are already ahead of the game, and they should be leaps and bounds better than the 68-93 record and last place in the National League East finish they posted in 2016.
Sure, they want to win the World Series in their new stadium and while that’s unlikely in their opening season, I wouldn’t be surprised for them to make a few more progressive moves to help them potentially make the postseason in 2017. They will not likely be the last place finishers they were in 2016, in their first season in their new stadium.
All I know for sure, however, is that I am still most definitely Team Bartolo!
**Update #2: Noah Syndergaard’s reaction on Twitter is definitely worth a look! I feel bad!
— Noah Syndergaard (@Noahsyndergaard) November 11, 2016