It is September 2nd (sorry, I was busy yesterday, which means I was lucky to miss most of the Mets six-error debacle) and Bartolo Colon is still filling out a Mets uniform. This is at the very least shocking, and at most a dereliction of duty by Sandy Alderson.
There are no two ways around it — Bartolo Colon is not needed on the Mets in 2015 and his salary takes up a huge chunk of the Mets limited payroll. At $11 million of a conservatively estimated $90 million budget, that’s 12% for an unnecessary player. That $11 million has to go towards a slugging left fielder or a much-needed shortstop.
There are reports that Alderson was asking for top prospects as well as an almost complete salary dump for Colon. That was just not going to happen. Those same reports say Alderson is confident he can deal Bartolo Colon in the off-season. That confidence is misplaced.
Alderson reportedly thinks teams will look at the free agent starter landscape and opt for Colon and his one-year guarantee over the likes of Jon Lester and Max Scherzer, who will both command more than $100 million, or possibly even $200 million for Scherzer.
The problem is that is flawed thinking. Instead of comparing Colon to Lester and Scherzer (because there really is no comparison), Colon should be compared to the dozens of back-end starters who will be available. They will all sign for far less than $11 million. So why in the world would a team pay $11 million and give up prospects for Colon, who will turn 42 years old early next season and is not exactly an Equinox poster boy?
Yes, Colon is pitching better this season than most of those prospective free agent starters, so this really is not a slight against him. But he will not last forever; he is already pitching well past his prime. What team will be dumb enough to risk such a payout to a pitcher whose end could come at any time? The Mets were the only team to offer Bartolo Colon two years, so the answer to that question is the Mets.
Knowing how tight the budget is and how many holes the Mets have to fill, Alderson never should have given Colon a two-year contract. A lot of people justified it by saying he could always trade Colon at the deadline. Maybe even Alderson thought that. Well guess what — Alderson was unable to do it. And now the Mets might be stuck with Bartolo Colon and his salary for another season, which means the lineup will be short once again. Shall we get ready to wait for 2016?