Late late night, a report surfaced that free agent starter Bartolo Colon had signed with an infamous “mystery team”. Earlier in the day, Colon had been linked to the Oakland A’s. Putting two and two together, it seems logical that Colon’s mystery team would be Oakland, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet. Does the former Yankees hurler match up well with Oakland? Let’s look at a little reasoning involving Colon in Oakland.
The A’s have a very young rotation, which was made even younger by dealing Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill this offseason. In return for the trio, in addition to other prospects, they received MLB-ready starters Tom Milone, Brad Peacock and Jarrod Parker. Add those three to incumbents like Brandon McCarthy, Tyson Ross, Josh Outman, Guillermo Moscoso, Graham Godfrey, Dallas Braden, and the injured Brett Anderson, and it doesn’t make a ton of sense as to why Oakland would have interest in Colon when they have such a young, potential-laden rotation.
But here’s the thing: there is literally *no* veteran presence in that rotation. McCarthy, Braden and Anderson are the most veteran of the crew, with the 28 year-old Braden being the elder stateman of the group. But Braden dealt with shoulder issues for all of last season, and Anderson is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and won’t be ready until at least midseason. The team could use a veteran to bolster their rotation and Colon is (likely) an affordable option on the market.
Another reason that the team could have decided to go with a veteran like Colon in their rotation is, strangely, because of their bullpen. While Ross and Outman received some starts last season, both players also have a history of pitching in relief, and could end up there at the end of the day, especially after the trade of closer Andrew Bailey. While veterans Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour are currently anchoring the bullpen, both players are scheduled to make seven figures in 2012, and could get dealt.
As of right now, the only name in the A’s rotation written in ink is McCarthy, the former Rangers and White Sox prospect who posted a 3.32 ERA (2.86 FIP) and 4.7 fWAR in 170 2/3 innings last year. But with the glut of young starters not truly battle-tested in the majors, the A’s could use another veteran to help bolster their rotation, even if they’re not going to be contending this season. Colon would be a solid match, even if the soon-to-be 39 year-old probably won’t post a FIP under 4.00 like he did last year again.
But maybe the A’s aren’t even Colon’s mystery team. That would create even more questions, and presumably keep Oakland in the market for another veteran starter.
EDIT 6:30 PM: Colon will be joining the A’s on a one year, $2 million deal. Low cost, short-term….I like the move.