White Sox Sign Bartolo Colon

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Chicago White Sox have signed Bartolo Colon to a one-year contract.

Nice pickup by the ChiSox, who simply needed an extra guy to vie for a back-end rotation spot. They add Colon to the competition for the #5 slot and as insurance behind Jose Contreras, who is coming off an injury.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen the Mets bring in Colon, despite his physical similarity to Shamu. Despite his weight issues — which no doubt have contributed to his health issues — when he’s on the mound, he’s a tough competitor and knows how to win. In fact I would be happy if the Mets brought in four or five guys of Colon’s caliber to compete for the last two spots in the starting rotation. The more the merrier, and to me it’s better to take chances on pitchers who have succeeded in the past (Colon, Pedro Martinez, Freddy Garcia, etc.) than guys who have never been more than mediocre (i.e., Tim Redding). But hey, what do I know?

One good thing for the Mets about this signing: it likely means that Freddy Garcia is off Chicago’s radar. The question, of course, is whether the Mets will roll the dice on Garcia, or let yet another starting pitcher with postseason experience elude their grasp.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude January 15, 2009 at 10:13 am
    Can you really be for signing Colon, despite is weight, but be against signing Dennys Reyes, because of his weight? Especially considering Reyes is younger by 4 years and has had much more success in recent seasons? It can be argued that the Mets could use another left-handed reliever with the left-heavy Phillies in the division just as much as competition for the #5 spot and added rotation depth. I know you’ll use Reyes’ asking amount against me, and in the end I’m not entirely for signing Reyes anyway, but I don’t understand why it’s ok for Colon to be a fat slob but not Reyes.
  2. joe January 15, 2009 at 2:41 pm
    Yes I can absolutely be for Colon, despite his weight, and against Reyes, because of his weight.

    The rationale is simple: Colon has always been hefty, and always been extremely successful in spite of it. In fact there were years when he was the among the top 5 pitchers in all of MLB.

    In contrast, Dennys Reyes has spent the bulk of his career as a second-rate LOOGY. In a 12-year MLB career, Reyes has had exactly two seasons in which he didn’t stink.

    Further, there are at least a half-dozen LOOGYs available at the same rate who have similar or better credentials. On the other hand, there aren’t too many starting pitchers available with Colon’s experience and resume. I know it’s a big roll of the dice, but I’d rather take a gamble on the best that Colon can give than the best that Reyes can.

    Finally, at the present moment, the Mets have exactly four MLB starting pitchers — one of whom who is mediocre, and two others coming off surgery. They need starters, any starters, and at least two or three of them. As for a LOOGY, they already have one — Pedro Feliciano — and while another one would be nice, it isn’t nearly as necessary as finding more arms for rotation spots.

  3. isuzudude January 16, 2009 at 9:13 am
    Well, I would refute your “Colon has always been extremely successful in spite of his weight” comment by pointing to his ERA, which has ballooned much like his waistline, to over 5.00 in 3 of the last 5 seasons. Yes, I see one of those 5 seasons (2005) he won the Cy Young with the Angels while winning 21 games, but after that season Colon has failed to log 100 innings in any season with constant health issues, perhaps linked to his weight, preventing him from achieving the success he has had in the past. It’s nice the Colon has an impressive resume, but that won’t help him stay healthy or be successful in 2009, which is the only year the Mets should be worried about right now. I do agree the Mets need as many bodies for the rotation as possible, but giving Colon a guarenteed 25-man roster spot (which the White Sox did) is extremely dangerous for a guy who is becoming just as fragile as Orlando Hernandez. There’s a thought: it can be argued that despite his nagging injuries, El Duque has had more success than Colon over the past 3 years, yet I’m sure you wouldn’t sign Orlando to a guarenteed contract. I’m not saying you would be wrong, but the point is the Mets aren’t in the position to be handing out major league contracts to pitchers who can’t stay healthy. We already have enough of those guys around.

    I’m not making an argument to sign Reyes over Colon, because I don’t like or want either. But I say if you want to take a chance on a starter with a nice resume but a spotty injury history, why not Tom Glavine, Kenny Rogers, Eric Milton, Curt Schilling, Kris Benson, Freddy Garcia, or the aforementioned El Duque? All would add the depth and credentials you desire without the spare tire. I’m not saying any of those would be any good, but if given the choice between them and the overweight Colon, I would have to rank Colon pretty close to last on my list.

  4. joe January 16, 2009 at 10:20 am
    Why are the Red Sox in position to be handing out MLB contracts to high-reward pitching risks, but the Mets aren’t? The Mets have more money than the Bosox to burn — they simply choose not to do it.

    You know exactly why the Mets can’t and won’t offer contracts to Kenny Rogers, Tom Glavine, and Kris Benson. Milton, to me, isn’t worth it because it feels like he’s been making a comeback for a decade and I don’t even remember him being that good.

    But Schilling? Yes! Gacia? Yes! Sheets? Yes! Pedro? Yes! El Duque? Yes! ANYBODY!!!!! I’d rather take gambles on three or four of those guys, expect to eat at least two or three of the contracts, and hit the jackpot with one of them, then go to spring training with exactly 5 “safe” starters.

    Is it any coincidence that the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Cubs, Angels, and Rays consistently have 7, 8, or 10 starting pitchers fighting it out for 5 rotation spots every year?

  5. isuzudude January 16, 2009 at 1:53 pm
    The Red Sox are in position to hand out high-risk, high-reward contracts to the likes of Smoltz and Penny because they already have Beckett, Daisuke, Lester, Wakefield, Masterson, and Buchholz. That’s already a solid staff 6 pitchers deep. Their signings of Smoltz and Penny are then viewed as insurance in case Beckett continues to struggle with his own health issues, or if Masterson/Buchholz is needed more in the pen. For them it makes perfect sense. But for the Mets, they have Johan coming back on an operated-on knee, Pelfrey coming back in only his 2nd full ML season, Maine coming off of shoulder surgery, and then a rookie in Niese and a bum in Redding. They need as many sure-things as possible, which is why I thought signing someone like Derek Lowe was academic. Signing someone like Colon, Schilling, Garcia, Pedro, or Duque to a guarenteed ML contract is great IF the Mets already had at least 4 locks in the rotation to throw at minimum 175 innings, and as far as I’m concerned they probably only have 1. To me, it’s not about the money (although the Mets’ actions this winter would lead you to believe otherwise in some cases), it’s about knowing the reliability of your rotation and adding the right bodies to it to maximize its potential. For the Red Sox, it means adding veterans who need only be relied upon if other aspects of the incumbent rotation fall apart. For the Mets, though, it means adding as many innings-eaters as possible to take the load off the other pitchers who aren’t being counted on to last 25+ starts deep into the season.
  6. joe January 16, 2009 at 2:03 pm
    ‘dude, you’re arguing with something I’m in agreement with …. or something ….

    My point is same as yours — the Mets need AT LEAST 5 healthy MLB-caliber starters, AND they should be taking on a few low-risk / high-reward candidates as well. But this inane system of waiting around to see if any of the cool boys will ask the Mets to dance is going to leave them without a prom date. Omar’s insistence that he has to do one thing before the other is 1. illogical and 2. a lie.

    Why can’t the Mets pick up a Ben Sheets or Freddy Garcia now, and sign Ollie Perez or Jon Garland next week? They can rush to sign Alex Cora and Tim Redding — two guys who had little demand on the open market — but can’t do the same for someone with actual, real, tangible success in his history such as Garcia — or Pedro?

    If anything, it makes MORE sense to sign a Garcia / Colon / Pedro / etc. FIRST, because at that point, the old vet thinks he’ll have a decent shot of making the rotation. If they wait until after all their slots are filled, someone like Garcia or Schilling or Sheets or whomever might say, “eh, they already have five guys set … I’ll I have a better chance to make Team X”.