Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Bartolo Colon Reunion Tour

This offseason the Yankees have not entered the free agent market and as of the writing of this article have completed three trades. The have dealt from positions of strength in dealing J.R. Murphy, Justin Wilson, and Adam Warren. The Wilson and Warren trades have caused some fans to worry as they weakened arguably the Yankees greatest strength, their bullpen. While the backend of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller is still intact, there are legitimate concerns about the bridge that will lead to them.

The Yankees minor league system has done a good job of churning out serviceable relievers in the past few years, and they will likely turn to the minors again to replace Wilson. Wilson was a hard throwing lefty and some combination of Tyler Webb, James Pazos, and Jacob Lindgren will probably replace him.

Warren, however, might not be so easy to replace. He served as the 5th starter at the beginning of the season then transitioned to a swingman role. Looking at the Yankees current roster, only Bryan Mitchell seems to fit the bill as a possible replacement. There are some players in the minors such as Brady Lail and the recently acquired Luis Cessa and Chad Green who could make the jump to the majors this year but by Warren's admission, it took him years to get the hang of going back and forth multiple times a year between starter and reliever.

If the Yankees are forced to go outside the organization to fill the swingman role there are intriguing options on the free-agent market like Doug Fister and Henderson Alvarez. While they have proven track records they come with injury concerns, performance concerns and will likely find starting opportunities elsewhere.
You knew this was coming

Another intriguing option is old friend Bartolo Colon. Colon demonstrated in the playoffs that he could go days without pitching and then pitch multiple innings effectively. While he'll be 43 during the season his statistics have not faltered. In 2014, he pitched 200+ innings for the first time since 2005 and in 2015 he was only short by 5.1 innings. His projections on rotochamp think he'll have a better season in 2016 though 3 of the 4 say with fewer innings. 

He has production, experience and anticipated contract demands going for him. It is unlikely he'll get guaranteed multiple years on his next contract. Take the $5 million that was spent on Chris Capuano last year and give it to Colon and everyone will be a lot happier.

I can think of only three downsides to going after Colon.

  1. His age could lead to a swift drop in production.
  2. Younger pitchers who could be with the team longer are blocked.
  3. In the AL, he won't get to hit as often depriving us of amazing photos like the one below.
One of the few times you'll be okay with seeing a Mets photo on a Yankees blog

 What do you think of a reunion with Bartolo Colon?

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)