Sox to sign Bartolo Colon

Theo Epstein has a penchant for injury-prone (read: bargain) pitching, we all know that. Last year, there was Eric Gagne, and the year before that, Keith Foulke. Then Wade Miller. This is not a problem, so long as the price for these pitchers is bargain enough. Now the Red Sox have reportedly come to terms with Bartolo Colon on a minor league contract.

This move was apparently made to address the rotation depth after the loss of Curt Schilling. I have to say I like the move because it risks basically nothing, and Colon is a very good pitcher when he’s right, but it’s not exactly the fit I was hoping for. Here’s why:

  1. Everyone else has passed on him. We are not the only ones to have considered Colon as a value signing, not by a long shot. Lots of teams have kicked the tires and watched him throw, and moved on to such aces as Tomokazu Ohka and Josh Fogg. Most recently, the Cardinals and White Sox have said no thanks after seeing him throw and not top 91 MPH on the gun. As more of a stuff guy than a control guy, this is concerning. Colon was seeking a two-year deal somewhere at the beginning of the offseason, and now he’s taking a minor league deal with no guaranteed money on a team where’s he virtually guaranteed no major league innings? Colon is desperate here, and that doesn’t bode well for this signing.
  2. We need someone right now, not in July. Colon is definitely not 100%, and he may not even be 75% at this time. He could conceivably get healthy enough to contribute in a few months. But the reason there’s a vacancy is because Clay Buchholz will likely start at Pawtucket. However, I think we’d all like to see him plugged into the rotation by June/July. There is also a slight chance (though diminishing by the week, it seems) that Schilling will be back not too long after the All-Star Break. So adding a pitcher who won’t be ready to contribute until there’s no need for him anymore makes little sense to me.

I’d be surprised if Colon could contribute at the Major League Level anytime soon, and that’s what makes this signing kind of insignificant to me right now. To me, this move is a good depth move, but it doesn’t address the immediate problem we face, unless Buchholz starts the year in the rotation and is shut down early (which makes even less sense to me). There’s not much to complain about, as he won’t eat up space on the 25-man or the 40-man rosters, and he won’t make any real money unless he’s called up. As they say, these things tend to work themselves out. Who knows? Maybe Schil is lost for the year, and Colon comes up and takes the spot of Tim Wakefield or some other injured starter in the rotation later on.


4 Responses to Sox to sign Bartolo Colon

  1. Pat says:

    I wonder how much the F.O. is thinking of playing Clay in the majors this year. I would think it depends a lot on our needs.

    I wonder if we would start the year with Taverez as our fifth starter, and maybe by the time he is worn out, we bring in Bartolo Colon (if he’s ready). Then maybe we just bring in Clay for September and October, and have him full time in ’09?

  2. redsoxtalk says:

    Hi Pat, this scenario would make sense, except that Buchholz is slated to get around 170 total innings this season (Triple-A + Majors). All signs are that he is ready, and I think that he should pitch for longer than two months.

    My feeling is that Colon is sort of a sleeper/insurance policy against injury and Buchholz or Lester not being ready. Should he come back and dominate, great. He can replace Wake in the rotation. But to take innings from the young guys unnecessarily will just impede their development.

  3. bosoxgirl says:

    I would have to agree with your thinking, and hope they do not take away from the young pitchers. I think like you said he is there just for insurance against injuries or to give breaks where needed. I can’t wait to see what Clay brings this season, hope it’s great…

  4. redsoxtalk says:

    The management warned the players before he arrived today that Colon would not be in game shape.

    Uhh… Gross understatement of the year (with emphasis on the word “gross”).

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