Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Day (or five) late thoughts on the Bartolo Colon signing

As you know the Sox signed Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal this week. I’m not going to lie to you I think it was a pretty smart move by Theo. Granted he’s not the Cy Young winning pitcher he was in 2005 but if he can stay healthy he will most definitely help eat some innings while Schilling rehabs or Buchholz gets ready for a season in the majors.

That’s the great thing about the signing, as Theo said it’s a low-risk high potential reward situation. According to ESPN If Colon is added to the Red Sox 40-man roster, “he would get a $1.2 million, one-year contract and have the chance to earn performance and roster bonuses.”

What is the worst that could happen? If he doesn’t pan out it’s no big deal for the Sox but if he can get back into game shape and stay healthy the best case scenario is you end up with a proven major league starter in your fourth or fifth starter spot for 1.2+ million. If Colon wins 8-10 games and keeps his ERA under five he’d be exactly what Schilling was last year (9-8, 4.76 ERA).

I’m not saying that Colon is automatically going to turn things around and be an ace again but he doesn’t have to be an ace. Really a success for Colon, in my mind would be if he could be a 4 or 5 starter.

I’m assuming the Sox top three starters are going to be Beckett, Dice-K and Jon Lester. Yes after his World Series performance and inspiring comeback from lymphoma I think Lester is ready for the big time. Then you’ve got Wake (who could certainly be an injury risk), Buchholz (who will be in the majors this year but he’s on an innings limit again so I wonder whether or not he’ll start the season in a starter’s role) then hopefully Colon.

The Red Sox also have Kyle Snyder and Julian Tavarez who can make starts.
I’m of the “you can never have enough pitching” and “when you think you have pitching, you don’t” schools of thought. Which is why I think the Colon signing was such a good idea for the Red Sox.

By no means am I saying that by adding Bartolo Colon the Red Sox have the best rotation or anything. I do think that they have a solid rotation that is built for both the long grind of a 162 game season and a playoff run. Adding Bartolo Colon does end up pitching as well as or better than what we all expected from Schilling that would be a major plus for the team. Especially considering how uneasy some fans seemed to feel when the Schilling news came out.

Assuming Colon can get healthy I don’t think there is any reason why he can’t fall somewhere between the ’07 Curt Schilling and the ’07 Dice-K.

That would be somewhere between 9-8 with a 4.76 ERA and 15-12 with a 4.40 ERA. After all he’s a guy that’s averaged a 16-10 record with a 4.10 ERA in 11 major league seasons. 15 wins is definitely a high water mark. I wouldn’t expect that out of him but if he stays healthy I can definitely see 7-10 wins and a 5ish ERA.

Of course this all changes if he can’t get healthy, or if Buchholz starts the season in the rotation and kills it for the entire year.

Either way according to the Bradford Files it looks like we’ll get out first look at Colon on March 9th.

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