Beane on Colon: 'It'd be foolish not to say we have interest'
OAKLAND -- Indications are that Bartolo Colon could return to the A’s starting rotation for 2014.
General manager Billy Beane and manager Bob Melvin both said in their season-ending press conferences Friday that they would like to have the veteran right-hander back, especially if it’s on similar financial terms as the one-year, $3 million contract he signed last winter. Colon won 18 games and was an All-Star this season at age 40.
Colon has given signs that he’d like to return for a 17th major league season, and he’s been a popular figure in the A’s clubhouse despite being suspended in 2012 for using performance-enhancing drugs and missing the postseason that year.
“That would be awesome if he feels like he can pitch,” rookie right-hander Sonny Gray said.
Colon went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA that ranked second in the AL among starting pitchers.
“Bart’s been great for us for two years,” Beane said. “You just look at the numbers and what he did. It’d be foolish even at this early juncture not to say we’d have interest in bringing him back. He’s great on the mound, and a nice relaxing personality in the clubhouse among a bunch of kids.”
Even taking Colon out of the equation, the A’s will enter spring training with a solid nucleus of young starters already under contract, though there are injury questions, most notably about Jarrod Parker.
He was scheduled for an MRI on his right elbow Friday. Melvin revealed that Parker has experienced some “tightness” in the elbow of late. This after Parker was pulled from Game 3 of the American League Division Series after just 73 pitches because he was showing what Melvin described as arm fatigue.
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Parker had Tommy John surgery on his elbow back in October 2009 that sidelined him for all of the 2010 season.
Gray also was scheduled for an MRI on Friday for his fractured left thumb, suffered when he was struck by a comebacker in Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Detroit in Game 5 of the ALDS. Gray said he thought he still would have been able to pitch in the AL Championship Series had the A’s advanced since his thumb injury was on his non-throwing hand.
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A.J. Griffin said Friday that his elbow tendinitis was feeling good enough that he thought he would have been ready for the ALCS if needed. He’s expected to be okay after an offseason of rest.
The A’s sound prepared to pick up the $8 million club option on left-hander Brett Anderson for next season. Their alternative is to pay his $1.5 million buyout and turn him loose as a free agent. Anderson has made more than 19 starts just once in his five big league seasons due to assorted injuries, and he pitched in relief after coming back from a foot injury in August.
“We still think very highly of Brett,” Beane said. “Obviously the injuries have derailed some of his seasons, but he’s still a great talent. Probably some assumptions we can make” as far as the decision to pick up Anderson’s option.
Beane and Melvin both said they envision Anderson moving back into a starting role.
As things stand, the top rotation candidates heading into next season, going alphabetically, would be Anderson, Colon (if he’s re-signed), Gray, Griffin, Tommy Milone, Parker and Dan Straily.