MIAMI -- Bartolo Colon toiled as one of the Mets' most beloved employees for three years before departing the organization last winter. It's possible his time in New York is not complete. Multiple sources said Thursday that the Mets will at least consider a reunion with Colon, whom the Braves
MIAMI -- Bartolo Colon toiled as one of the Mets' most beloved employees for three years before departing the organization last winter. It's possible his time in New York is not complete. Multiple sources said Thursday that the Mets will at least consider a reunion with Colon, whom the Braves designated for assignment earlier in the day.
Barring a trade, Colon's $12.5 million salary should ensure that he clears waivers next week. Once that happens, signing Colon would become a low-risk move, with the Mets paying him just a prorated portion of the league minimum salary.
It would also be a low-ceiling move. The Braves cut ties with Colon for a reason; at age 44, he posted an 8.14 ERA in 13 starts. One person that saw Colon pitch this season said the signature sink on his fastball had vanished, leaving him without much chance against opposing hitters. The Mets are skeptical of his ability to retire big league hitters, making a reunion unlikely.
But they have been desperate for pitching all season, with four of their top seven starters currently on the disabled list. Although Colon might not even be an upgrade at this point over Rafael Montero, who is scheduled to start Sunday against the Phillies, the veteran would offer a cheap measure of depth.
Colon has also pitched successfully out of the bullpen in the past for New York, signing a one-year deal in 2016 under the expectation that he would appear regularly as a reliever. Instead, injuries wracked the Mets' rotation and Colon made 33 starts.
Had they not entered Spring Training with seven starters ahead of Colon on their depth chart, the Mets might have made a stronger bid to re-sign him. They instead allowed Colon to sign with the Braves, who offered a better opportunity for him to break Juan Marichal's Dominican-born record 243 career victories.
Since Colon's departure, the Mets have missed his presence in the clubhouse, where he served as a mentor for Jeurys Familia, Hansel Robles and other younger pitchers. Colon keeps a home in New Jersey, and he would likely welcome a return to the area. A fan favorite throughout his three-year tenure with the Mets, Colon became legendary for his workout routines, quirky defensive plays and surprising offensive contributions, hitting the first home run of his career last May.
Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen was the one who relayed the news of Colon's sudden unemployment to manager Terry Collins on Thursday.
"You feel bad," Collins said. "But he's had an absolutely tremendous career -- tremendous. I'm sure he'll land on his feet someplace. He's a pretty valuable guy to have."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.