Word from the Winter Meetings today is that the Mets spoke to the agent for free agent pitcher Bartolo Colon. Colon, who will turn 41 during the 2014 season, posted an 18-6 record with the Athletics last season with a 2.65 ERA. He pitched 190.1 innings, allowed 193 hits, and struck out 117. However, even with these solid statistics, I suggest the Mets pass on signing him for 3 reasons.
1. Cost: Colon is reportedly seeking $10-12 million per season, likely for 2 years. With the signings of Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, Sandy Alderson has approximately $10-12 million left to spend this off-season, and it would not make sense to allocate that entire amount to one player. The Mets have several additional holes to fill, and while some may be filled via trade, Alderson will need to have some money left to sign free agents, even mid-level free agents (either as bullpen or position-player help).
2. Other Options: Alderson can find a short-term starter and not have to spend the money Colon is seeking. The Mets will need external starting pitching help for 2014, and possibly not after that (pending trades). In 2015, Matt Harvey should return, and Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard may be ready for the big leagues. To fill the 2014 need, the Mets can look to less expensive options, such as Aaron Harang or Daisuke Matsuzaka as a fifth starter behind Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee, Jonathon Niese, and Carlos Torres. Chris Capuano would be another option who could come at far less than $10-12 million per season.
3. Age: Colon, even though he had a very good season last year, cannot be relied upon to replicate that season at age 41. It’s hard to say when Colon may hit the point of diminishing returns, but it’s better that the Mets are not on the hook for his salary when that point comes.
In the frenzy to address shortstop, trade a first baseman, and possibly acquire a backup catcher, the starting pitching need has been more of back-burner issue. However, Alderson does need to round out the last 2 starters in the 2014 rotation. Although it may be tempting, I suggest that he pass on Bartolo Colon.