Are Balfour and Colon's days in Oakland over?
Bartolo Colon won 18 games in 2013, his most since 2005. (AP)
There’s some interesting reading (or make that viewing) from ESPN’s Buster Olney, who addressed Bartolo Colon’s free agency status in a video blog posted Wednesday.
Olney reports that team executives around the majors are “running in the other direction from this pitcher” because of Colon’s age and his suspension for performance-enhancing drug use during the 2012 season.
Does this improve the Oakland A’s chances for re-signing Colon, who turns 41 in May but is coming off an 18-win season? Olney believes that the A’s decision not to extend Colon a $14.1 million qualifying offer is evidence that they have their own reservations about the right-hander.
It’s clear the A’s aren’t putting all their eggs in one basket with their pitching search. They’ve reportedly contacted 38-year-old free-agent starter Tim Hudson. That could mean A’s officials are seriously interested in Hudson (as well as other veterans on the open market), but it could also be intended as a signal to Colon’s camp that the A’s won’t sit paralyzed in their decision-making while Colon entertains offers from other teams.
The unknown, of course, is just how big any of those offers might be. Olney speculates that Colon eventually will land a one-year deal from a big-market team in the range of $10-12 million, though he notes there’s a fear that no team wants to be stuck paying Colon a hefty salary when he finally starts showing his age on the mound.
It’s tough to envision the A’s dishing out $10 million or more for Colon, isn’t it? But if they really want to stand out from other suitors, they could do so by offering him a two-year deal. It might not be the wisest play considering his age, but one that could give the A’s the inside track.
Then again, if other teams really are shying away from Colon, the A’s best move is to just let the offseason play out and see if the pitcher’s asking price drops. In the meantime, they can kick the tires on other free agents and see if a more feasible deal materializes.
The A’s hardly, if ever, come out victorious in a bidding war. Right now, it’s just tough to tell how heated the war for Bartolo Colon will get.