Friday, November 11, 2016

Colón Blows Off Mets to Become Part of Braves' Quadragenarian Effort

Bartolo Colón will be taking his big sexiness down south for the 2017 season.  According to multiple reports, the fan-favorite former Met has signed a one-year deal worth $12.5 million to pitch for the Atlanta Braves.

This comes just a day after the Braves signed another 40-something one-time Met in R.A. Dickey, giving Atlanta the two oldest pitchers in baseball.  (The only non-pitcher older than Dickey is Ichiro Suzuki.)

The two signings also give hope to pitchers such as Scott Atchison (Atchison spent the 2016 season as a Cleveland Indians' advanced coach and staff assistant) that they can still play for a major league team, although in all honesty, Atchison may be out of the Braves' age range.

With Atlanta opening up its new ballpark next season, perhaps they're looking to put fannies in the seats with a bunch of quadragenarian players, especially now that soon-to-be 40-year-old catcher A.J. Pierzynski has retired.  But why stop there?  Why not bring back 58-year-old utility man Julio Franco, who in 5½ seasons with the Braves (2001-05, second half of 2007) put up an incredible .291/.363/.424 slash line in nearly 1,400 plate appearances - all while he was in his mid-to-late 40s.  Or better yet, how about franchise legend Phil Niekro?  He'll be 78 by Opening Day, but he's a knuckleballer, and you know that knucklers can pitch much later in life than their hard-throwing brethren can.  Plus, it would give Dickey a close friend on the team.

But in all seriousness, there was no way Sandy Alderson was going to commit $12.5 million to Colón in his age-44 season when he didn't give that to him in any of Colón's three seasons with the Mets.  As good and as entertaining as Colón was as a Met from 2014 to 2016, the Mets needed to pay him less than that amount if they wanted to keep players such as Yoenis Céspedes around.

The emergence of Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman has given the Mets hope, albeit in a small sample size, that they still have some kind of depth in the starting pitcher department in the event that the Fab Five of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler never materializes because of their constant injury issues.

If the Mets use the money they would have given to Colón to sweeten the pot for Céspedes and he ends up re-signing with the team, then great.  We'll miss Bart, but we'd have missed Yo more.  If one or all of the starting five miss a significant part of the season, then oops, the Mets will have crapped their pants; Colón blowing off the team for the money in Atlanta will come back to haunt New York.

The Mets begin the 2017 season at Citi Field next year.  Their opponent will be the Atlanta Braves.  More than likely, the Opening Day starter for the Braves will be Met-killer Julio Teheran.  But don't be surprised if Bartolo Colón and R.A. Dickey start the other two games of the series.  And you also shouldn't be surprised if the fans give both pitchers the same kind of welcome that Mike Piazza received when he returned to Flushing for the first time as a former Met in 2006.

I just hope both pitchers don't become Met-killers themselves, regardless of their Atchisonian age.

I have faith that the Mets will not make these SNL references come true.  Ya gotta believe, right?

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