The New York Mets will re-sign fan favorite veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon to a one-year, $7.25 million contract, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports.
Sources: #Mets in agreement with Bartolo Colon on one-year, $7.25M contract, pending physical. Initial reports of deal came from DR.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 16, 2015
Rosenthal adds that Colon had better offers from other teams, but chose to re-sign with the Mets instead. Sources told Rosenthal that Colon has enjoyed his time with the Mets and that he “loves [the] fans, teammates, organization.”
Colon, 42, was serviceable in 2015, finishing out the second year of the original two-year, $20 million he signed with the team prior to the 2014 campaign. In 33 games (31 starts), Colon went 14-13 with a 4.16 ERA in 194-and-two-third innings. The year prior — his first with the Mets — Colon posted similar numbers as he went 15-13 with a 4.09 ERA in 33 starts (202-and-one-third innings).
While Colon’s numbers with the Mets were not as good as his two seasons in 2012-13 with the Oakland Athletics, the rotund right-hander was nonetheless a productive fixture in the rotation. Colon also became popular with Mets fans through his bubbly personality and entertaining antics as a hitter.
At his advanced age, there was speculation that 2015 could be the last season of Colon’s 18-year career. However, in late September — following his final start of the year — Colon told ESPN through an interpreter that he wanted to tie 2015 MLB Hall of Fame inductee Pedro Martinez for the most wins by a Dominican-born pitcher.
“It’s really significant for me. It would mean a lot for me to be tied with Pedro for the second-most wins for a Dominican player. But even though I would be there with Pedro — we would have the same number of wins — Pedro was a better pitcher than me.”
Martinez has 219 career victories and Colon is just one win behind with 218. Therefore, barring injury, Colon should be able to tie and surpass Martinez early in the 2016 season.
Oft-injured right-hander Zack Wheeler is still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and he’s not expected to return until June or July of next season. Therefore, Colon will likely begin the season as the Mets’ fifth starter behind young flamethrowers Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz. Young right-handers Rafael Montero and Logan Verrett are also options for the Mets.
Once Wheeler returns and takes over as the Mets’ fifth starter, Colon will likely be shifted into the bullpen in a swingman role. The former two-time All-Star displayed his versatility in the latter stages of the 2015 and the playoffs — coming out of the bullpen to soak up valuable innings for the Mets.
Through his nearly two-decade long career, Colon has bounced around the league, pitching for the Cleveland Indians, Montreal Expos, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Athletics, and Mets. In 2005 with the Angels, Colon won the American League Cy Young, going 21-8 with a 3.45 ERA.
Injuries hindered Colon from 2006-2010 as he failed to make more than 19 starts during the period. After experiencing a renaissance with the 2011 Yankees, Colon headed out west and pitched well for the A’s. But his return to prominence was not without controversy as he was suspended for 50 games for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
But Colon has shown that age is not a hindrance and if his performance from the past two seasons is any indication, he will play a key role in another potentially successful season in Queens.
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