Well, the A’s have finally stolen one away from the Yankees! The team has reportedly come to terms with veteran starting pitcher Bartolo Colon on a one-year deal worth $2 million, pending a physical. The 38-year-old Colon got off to a great start for the Yanks in 2011, turning in a 3.20 ERA in the first half. He finished the year with a 4.00 ERA and demonstrated great control throughout the season, walking only 40 batters in 164 1/3 innings. Colon also has a career ERA of 2.14 in the spacious Coliseum.
The portly Dominican Republican will surely provide a veteran presence on an inexperienced A’s staff that, for the most part, has barely started shaving. The old graybeard of the A’s starters, Brandon McCarthy at 28, is a full ten years younger than Colon.
The former AL Cy Young winner also comes relatively cheap, at a reported salary below the major league average. And with the A’s not likely to be in contention for anything in 2012 other than the league’s lowest attendance trophy, once the July trading deadline rolls around, the experienced veteran is likely to be flipped to a desperate contender for another hot young prospect to toss onto the A’s rebuild bonfire.
Even more importantly though, Colon’s addition will allow the A’s to let their recently acquired prized pitching prospects to take a little time to develop at Triple-A and will further delay their arbitration/free agency clocks. These young pitchers will surely be the core of any future A’s contending teams, and there’s absolutely no reason to rush them before the team is ready to contend just to fill up roster spots.
That said, I’d like to see the A’s start the season without any of their new young pitching acquisitions in the major league rotation. I’d prefer to see Jarrod Parker, Brad Peacock and Tom Milone all getting their Triple-A innings in at Sacramento for the first half of the season, until either they force their way onto the big league roster or trades or injuries open up slots for them in the summer.
If the season were to begin today, assuming Dallas Braden wasn’t ready to go, I’d like to see a major league rotation consisting of Brandon McCarthy, Guillermo Moscoso, Bartolo Colon, Josh Outman and Graham Godfrey – with Braden squeezing out Godfrey as soon as he was ready. That would likely leave a rotation at Sacramento consisting of Tom Milone, Brad Peacock, Jarrod Parker, Tyson Ross and Travis Banwart.
I think most observers expect to see McCarthy, Moscoso,Colon and Outman given the first shot to start the season in the A’s rotation. But who would you like to see open the season as the A’s fifth starter if, as we expect, Braden isn’t ready to go? You can check out all the contenders’ minor league stats at the links below…