Colon will leave Mets for Braves, re­port says

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Paul Newberry AP Sports Writer

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.

LAU­RENCE KESTERSON — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Bar­tolo Colon pitches for the Mets against the Phillies in Philadel­phia on Oct. 1.

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