Posted by Mack Ade at 10:00 AM
After falling short in the 2015 World Series, the best the New York Mets could do this year was a loss in the National League Wild Card game. During the upcoming offseason, they face a series of decisions in a number of areas as they hope that their fragile pitching staff can somehow rebound from an injury-plagued campaign.
One of the question marks among the team’s pitchers is whether or not to bring back veteran Bartolo Colon. While a look at his statistics would ordinarily elicit an emphatic thumbs up regarding that concern, the team has to weigh the fact that he’ll be turning 44 years-old two months into the 2017 season.
Of course, weighing anything connected to Colon inevitably brings the question back to his less-than-svelte physique. At 5-11 and 285 pounds, there’s seemingly no way he should be able to continue making contributions on the mound. Yet in the last four years, he’s somehow been able to compile a record of 62-40, making 125 starts along the way.
Looking back two decades, when Colon’s career began with the Cleveland Indians, it’s doubtful that many gave Colon much chance of still being a pitching option in 2017. Over his 19 seasons, he’s played for eight different teams and twice won 20 games. In 2005, he won the Cy Young award with the Los Angeles Angels after winning 21 games at his peak.
That peak crumbled the next year when Colon required Tommy John surgery. From 2006 to 2009, he managed a record of just 14-21 and was seemingly finished. After sitting out in 2010 due to further elbow surgery and then receiving a controversial stem cell procedure to his arm, his career was invigorated. That comeback stalled in 2012 with a 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. Since that time, however, Colon has had no subsequent issues.
The fact that Colon was able to put together a 15-8 record during the 2016 season shows that he’s really had no dropoff in performance. Few pitchers have ever maintained any level of success after the age of 40, which makes Colon something of a physical freak. Those 15 wins actually led a Mets staff that was besieged with injuries.
Colon’s salary last year was $7.25 million and he’s reported to be seeking a two-year deal. That may give the Mets pause, yet given the vast number of uncertainties, the team may not have many other options.
They have to hope that Matt Harvey and others get back to their old selves since signing free agent pitchers from other teams has either been expensive or a crapshoot. It wouldn't hurt to offer him his 2015 salary of $11 million to acknowledge his past contributions. As far as a two-year deal, the team should offer him a team option on the second year. There will be plenty of moves made this offseason, but with no other considerations on the horizon, this can serve as a band-aid for this wounded staff.