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Yankees Free Agent Target: Bartolo Colon

Could a reunion with the former Cy Young Award winner be in the Yankees future?

Big Bart
Big Bart

The Yankees' position of "older pitcher that's still really good" may have as many as two vacancies next season with the retirement of Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda's status unknown. A viable candidate for the spot could be former Yankees reclamation project Bartolo Colon. In his first go-around in pinstripes, Colon revitalized what had been a injury plagued twilight to his career. In 2011 Colon accrued more fWAR (2.8) than he had in his prior four seasons while posting a 4.00 ERA (3.89 FIP) with a 3.38 K/BB ratio.

While the Yankees retained fellow salvaged veteran Freddy Garcia for the next season, Colon moved on to the Athletics and continued his career renaissance by generating 2.4 fWAR in '12 and 3.9 in '13. These successes come with a major caveat however, as Colon was suspended for an elevated testosterone in 2012. But his 2013 was even better and without incident, so how much of an effect that has on his cost and future performance is anybody's guess. And before attributing Colon's success to pitching in the friendly confines of Oakland, it should be noted Colon's road 2.95 ERA the past two years is superior to his ERA at O.Co Colliseum. And his 0.8 HR/9 rate would play well at the launching pad in the Bronx.

At this point in his career, Colon is no longer the fireballer that consistently hit the mid-90's with his fastball. He gets by due to the movement on his two-seamer and pounding the strikezone with a 1.39 BB/9 rate over the last two seasons. There are some durability concerns due to his age, infamous "conditioning" and having not topped 200 innings in nearly a decade. A good pitcher but far from the reliable workhorse that he used to be.

Given the choice, Hiroki Kuroda should be the veteran pitcher that the Yankees attempt to sign first. But Bartolo Colon would be a solid replacement should Kuroda head elsewhere or opt to retire. A point in Colon's favor is that he did not receive a qualifying offer from Oakland, so signing him would not cost the Yankees a draft pick. Colon has stated that he believes he could pitch another three years, but entering his age-41 season a two year deal will be the likely ceiling with a one year, incentive-heavy deal being preferably for the Yankees or any other suitors. If the price is not too steep, Colon could be the sort of short-term fix that would greatly bolster the Yankees rotation.

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