Even though the Winter Meetings are over, the Oakland Athletics still want to add a few more players to their roster. One area the front office is looking to improve is the starting rotation. The Athletics already have Sonny Gray, newly signed starting pitcher Rich Hill, and a handful of rookie arms, but the team really needs a No. 2 starter who can backup Gray.
The A’s have expressed their desire to utilize the free agent market instead of acquiring players via trades. So, when examining the starting pitchers who are still free agents, all eyes quickly jump to former Oakland Athletic Scott Kazmir. Even though it would be a huge win for the Athletics to sign Kazmir for the 2016 season and possibly beyond, it is more than likely that he is out of the A’s price range. After spending a lot of money on Hill, Ryan Madson, and John Axford, there is not much of a budget left for another starter.
However, there has been some speculation that the A’s front office may consider another former Athletic – Bartolo Colon. Colon was with the Oakland Athletics during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, and he was quite a consistent starter for the green and gold. During his two seasons with Oakland, Colon had a combined 3.04 ERA with a 28-15 winning record over 342.2 innings pitched. Additionally, one of his best seasons in his entire Major League career was in 2013 with the Oakland Athletics. Even though he was a good asset for the A’s in the past, Oakland should not take the risk of signing him again.
When the A’s re-signed Colon to a one-year contract for the 2013 season, many were worried that the then 40-year-old starter would flop. Because of his age, the Athletics were definitely taking a chance on this veteran starter. Thankfully, they their risky move paid off for Colon was very successful that season. However, it would just not be wise to sign the now 42-year-old starting pitcher. Even though he can still pitch at the Major League level for an entire season, he has been slowly declining since 2013 and has become more of a backend starter rather than a No. 2 in the rotation.
This past season, Colon had a 4.16 ERA with a 14-13 record. Even though he pitched a complete game in September, it is becoming clear that his big league days may be drawing to an end soon. The New York Mets probably already realized this, which is why they decided to use Colon as a relief pitcher instead of as a starter during the 2015 postseason.
Additionally, the Oakland Athletics should really try to sign a left handed pitcher. Right now, Hill is the only lefty in the rotation. The A’s would benefit from having another left handed starter to make sure they have a good mix of arms among the starting five. That is why Kazmir would be ideal and Colon, who is a righty, would not be.
If the Oakland Athletics are looking to add Bartolo Colon to the 2016 roster, they should sign him to a one year contract for a minimal amount of money in order ensure that this would be a low risk, yet possibly high reward deal. Otherwise, the A’s should not pursue Colon at all.