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Yankees 2016 Potential Free Agent Target: Bartolo Colon

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Should the Yankees be interested in a reunion with the ageless wonder, Bartolo Colon?

Maybe Colon is a Jedi and that's why he can pitch at his age.
Maybe Colon is a Jedi and that's why he can pitch at his age.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

2015 Statistics: 194.2 IP, 6.3 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9, 4.16 ERA, 3.84 FIP

2016 Age: Turns 43 on May 24th

Position: Starting pitcher, could be used in bullpen

Bartolo Colon is a free agent this year after spending the past two seasons across town with the New York Mets. Originally signing with the Indians in 1993 (!) as a free agent out of Venezuela, Colon made his Major League debut in 1997, earning a no decision after facing the then Anaheim Angels. Between then and 2005, Colon had a pretty successful career, earning himself a Cy Young Award in 2005 while pitching for the Angels. From 2006-2009, Colon was riddled with injuries and DL stints, starting no more than 18 games in any of those years.

Colon sat out the 2010 season trying to recover from shoulder and elbow injuries. After watching him pitch in winter ball, the Yankees signed Colon to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training in 2011. After a mostly successful season with the Yankees, Colon earned himself back-to-back one year deals with the Athletics in 2012 and 2013. 2012 saw Colon suspended for 50 games after testing positive for synthetic testosterone, and 2013 saw Colon earn his third All-Star bid.

Two and a half successful seasons were enough to earn the then 40-year old a two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets. In 2014, there was a lot of speculation that the Mets would trade him, as they were having an uninspiring season, but the extra year on his contract made it difficult to move Colon, and so he ended up staying in Queens. In 2015, Colon was tabbed as the Mets' Opening Day starter. After a rough start (4.89 ERA through the end of June), he went on to have an overall fine season, posting a 2.88 ERA over the campaign's last two months as the Mets ran away with the NL East division title.

The mystery regarding Colon really seems to be when his age will finally catch up to him. He turns 43 in May, but shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. Per Fangraphs, Colon heavily relies on one pitch, his two seam fastball. In 2015 he threw this pitch about twice as much as his next most used pitch (1,472 pitches compared to 771 for his four-season fastball). While this may not make sense, given that he's 43 and averages 87.2 mph on it, Colon relies more on his location and command rather than his speed.

It may be fun to bring back Colon and just watch him from a pure baseball fan point of view, and even though one of the Yankees' biggest needs is starting pitching, he might not be a very good fit for the team. The Yankees' biggest need is also something they have an abundance of currently, with Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, and CC Sabathia almost guaranteed rotation spots (barring health), while also having Ivan Nova and Adam Warren likely battling for the fifth spot, and options such as Bryan Mitchell and Brady Lail waiting in minors, it doesn't make sense to figure out room for Colon. If the Yankees were to bring in a new pitcher via free agency or trade, it would probably be someone who can step up and be the staff's ace, or at least have that ability; Colon would probably just provide solid and dependable depth for the back of the rotation.

The other issue would probably be even convincing Colon to sign with a team where he's not guaranteed a starting spot. While he could be used out of the bullpen, where he was used at times during his Yankees stint and during the playoffs for the Mets this past season (where he had a 2.08 ERA), Colon is almost certainly looking for a team where he would be guaranteed a rotation spot to start the season, something the Yankees most likely wouldn't provide (or at least they don't need to).

While Colon's age would almost certainly allow for him to only sign a one year deal (maybe an option with a buyout for a second season if anyone really wants enter a bidding war for the veteran), Colon would probably still want something in the range of what he made in AAV. While age is certainly a factor, teams cannot ignore the fact that since 2011, he's been a very solid and consistent pitcher, and factoring in that dependable pitching is at a premium, any team who signs him would almost certainly shell out something in the $8-$13 million range.

While a reunion with the big guy would certainly be nice from an entertainment factor, it really doesn't make sense for the Yankees to sign him, so expect to see him sign a one year deal elsewhere. Although, if the Yankees were to bring him on a one year flyer, it would help temporarily solidify a rotation that has a lot of question marks around it. Although this could finally be the year that age catches up with Colon, so in an odd way it would simultaneously be both a high risk and safe signing.