Apr 8, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon (40) pitches in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Bartolo Colon could be valuable trade chip come July

When the trade deadline approaches in July, the Mets are likely to have a glut of starting pitchers. Five solid or better pitchers in the rotation and at least two knocking on the door from Triple-A is a good problem to have. So, what will happen when room needs to be made?

Regardless of whether or not the Mets are in contention in late-June/early-July, dealing one of their starting pitchers to address an area of need would seem to make sense – especially when you consider that both Matt Harvey and Jeremy Hefner should be back in action from the outset in 2015 – making the starting pitching situation even more crowded.

Zack Wheeler is most likely going nowhere, and Jon Niese‘s recent health issues make him a much less attractive target for other teams. Dillon Gee is relatively inexpensive and under team control – likely making him someone the Mets will want to hang onto.

While Jenrry Mejia hitting his innings limit during the summer could allow the Mets to slide either Noah Syndergaard or Rafael Montero into the big league rotation without trading someone from the big league staff, there is an option that would make room for both: trading Bartolo Colon.

If the Mets deal Colon, they may have to get creative at the very end of the season due to innings limits on both Syndergaard (155 or so) and Montero (185 or so).

At the same time, with the Mets intentionally going easy with both Montero and Syndergaard early in order to curtail their innings, finding late-season fill-ins for them may end up not being an issue at all.

When the Mets signed Colon during the offseason, there was an immediate thought that he could be trade bait either around the trade deadline in 2014 or in the offseason prior to 2015. With the Mets’ starting pitchers all healthy and the starting pitchers in the minors progressing, dealing Colon this season could be prudent.

The Mets still have two glaring areas of need: shortstop and first base.

If Colon continues to pitch well – and there’s no reason to think he won’t – he could be one of the most attractive starting pitchers on the market come July.

Colon is signed only through 2015, and at an average annual value of $10 million. For a team in contention who’s in dire need of an anchor for their rotation, Colon could be their guy.

Both Seattle and Arizona were rumored to be interested in starting pitching reinforcements prior to the season, and neither of those clubs have filled that need as of yet. Aside from Seattle and Arizona, there are sure to be other teams who are seeking a pitcher like Colon for the stretch run.

If the Mets can eventually turn Colon – who is part of an area of strength for the club – into a player who addresses an area of weakness, they should pull the trigger.

 

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