Colon will leave Mets for Braves, report says
The Atlanta Braves are getting older in their starting rotation next season. A lot, lot older. Not content to add one 40-something starter, the Braves made it two by agreeing to terms with 43-year-old Bartolo Colon, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Friday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement is expected from the Braves until next week on the reported $12.5 million, one-year deal with Colon.
The agreement is subject to a physical and comes one day after the Braves said they had an agreement with 42-year-old knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
MLB.com first reported the Colon deal, which includes a team option for 2018.
Colon went 15-8 with a 3.43 ERA for the New York Mets this season. He was picked for the All-Star Game and memorably became the oldest player in baseball history to hit his first career homer when he went deep at San Diego on May 7.
While having two 40-year-old starters is not unprecedented — the 1990 Texas Rangers featured 43-year-old Nolan Ryan and 42-year-old Charlie Hough — it’s extremely rare.
Still, Colon and Dickey both fit what the Braves were hoping to add as they prepare to move into SunTrust Park: experienced starters who could eat up innings and not require the sort of long-term contracts that would hamper payroll flexibility and stymie the growth of the organization’s plethora of promising young pitchers.
Colon and Dickey will bolster a shaky rotation that didn’t produce anyone with double-figure wins this past season but does feature two-time All-Star Julio Teheran and hard-throwing Mike Foltynewicz, who led the team with a 9-5 record.
Colon had 44 wins for the Mets over the last three seasons, and before that was an 18-game winner for Oakland at age 40. He’s also one of the game’s most popular players, which should make a good fit in the clubhouse.
The Braves also have resigned Josh Collmenter, who will likely join young pitchers Matt Wisler, Aaron Blair and Tyrell Jenkins in competing for the fifth starter spot.
Atlanta is coming off a last-place finish in the NL East but showed promise down the stretch after acquiring slugger Matt Kemp from the Padres. Kemp teamed with first baseman Freddie Freeman to provide a 1-2 punch in the middle of the batting order.
The Braves went 50-47 after an 18-46 start, including 12 wins in their final 14 games. General manager John Coppolella made it clear he expects to be a playoff contender next season when the team moves from Turner Field to its new $622 million stadium in suburban Cobb County.
Atlanta is still hoping to add another catcher — former Braves star Brian McCann, now with the New York Yankees, is among those mentioned — and perhaps pick up another versatile player to help off the bench.
Otherwise, the Braves appear to be largely set for 2017.
And much, much older.
Bartolo Colon pitches for the Mets against the Phillies in Philadelphia on Oct. 1.