In what has been a relatively quiet offseason, the Texas Rangers have just made some noise. This noise revolves around one of baseball’s most beloved names, Bartolo Colon.
On Sunday Texas agreed to terms on a one-year minor league deal with the longtime hurler. Colon will be invited to the organization’s spring training showcase as a result of the pact. According to ESPN, Colon would earn $1.75 million assuming he makes their 40-man roster.
Right off the bat, this may seem like a strange move on the part of the AL West team. In 2017, Colon struggled mightily during his stint with the Atlanta Braves. While he performed better with the Minnesota Twins, he was by no means spectacular. In 28 total starts he went 7-14 with a teeth-clenching 6.48 ERA. During 143 innings of action, his WHIP was a robust 1.587.
However, his performance was much, much better the prior year. In that campaign he posted a 15-8 record with a respectable 3.43 ERA. Additionally, Colon tossed over 190 innings, which sheds more light on why he was selected as an All-Star then.
A recent piece by Hannah Withiam of the New York Post provides further explanation about the Rangers’ decision. Her article includes recent comments from Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, who could not contain his excitement.
“Bartolo brings a track record of durability and success in the Major Leagues,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said in a statement. “He pounds the strike zone and provides quality competition for our rotation. Welcome to Texas, Big Sexy!”
MLB.com contributor elaborated on why the move is curious in nature. At the conclusion of his final start with Minnesota last year, Colon embraced Omar Vizquel. Although hugs are simple gestures, in this case it seemed to reveal something more. In a nutshell, what it appeared to evoke is that Big Sexy’s time in the majors was coming to an end.
However, the minor league deal proves that the buzz was merely a myth. The Rangers are giving Colon one more chance to see what is left in the tank. Granted Colon is certainly not a flamethrower anymore, Andrew Webb of FanSided understands that the right-handed pitcher is still capable of winning. His track record validates that idea.
“The four-time All-Star is not going to light up the radar gun like many others on the roster. He does not need to as the 20-year veteran has found a way to win without velocity. Colon ranks first among active pitchers with 240 wins.”
Let alone that, Paul Lebowitz of FanRag Sports believes the Rangers are giving Colon an opportunity for a spot on the 25-man roster. While most of their starting rotation is currently set, led by ace Cole Hamels, the fifth and final spot may be up for grabs.
Lebowitz does assert, though, that some competition will be there. Thus, the big-boned pitcher will have to earn his way in Arizona in order to get paid. Jon Niese and Erik Goeddel are a couple other minor leaguers rumored to be in the running for that role, among others.
Whether Colon is good enough to in the big leagues remains to be seen. 2017 was a year where he was a lot less efficient and effective in comparison to 2016. Be that as it may, Colon has an undeniable edge on the competition in one area: his experience.
Sure, he will never amount to the kind of guy he was back in 2005 when he won a Cy Young Award with the Halos. However, the impressive durability Daniels alluded to before suggests Colon does have a shot to land a gig with Texas. At the bare minimum, fans ascertain that he is surely going to put up a fight.
Yahoo Sports writer David Shovein perfectly sums up Colon’s demeanor (and physique) in a recent post he assembled.
“The rotund 44-year-old right-hander has long been a fan favorite due to his svelte physique, his bulldog mentality on the hill and for the childlike joy and passion with which he has always approached the game.”
Shovein’s analysis indicates that Colon will give it everything this spring. It will be his golden chance to show that 2017 was nothing more than a silly fluke.
Only time can tell what will transpire. Nevertheless, it shall be interesting to behold (and sexy perhaps), indeed. Colon has surprised many time and time again on the mound. Therefore, it is not inconceivable to think he could do the same one last time for the Rangers.